DJ Play That Song.

Strip clubs and lap dancing venues have been around for quite a while now so I was surprised to read an article about objections being made when a popular strip club in Manchester applied to renew their license, on further investigation I was amazed to find out that the objections are being made by a group of “feminists” who are trying to close down strip clubs in every city up and down the country. Due to the fact that strippers are obviously thick as two short planks and can’t see that they’re being objectified and exploited (apparently) this particular group of white middle class women known as The Women’s Equality Party are trying to help them by getting the clubs closed down and therefore making sure all the women lose their jobs. From where I’m sitting that’s not exactly helping the sisterhood but I’m sure they’ll be able to direct the girls to the nearest food bank while they go on to the next city to try to help all the exploited working women (quite a few with families) who need their help.

Shameful.

These so called feminists are the type who campaigned against Page 3 in The Sun, grid girls and ring girls and probably doing their best to make it against the law to get wolf whistled at. It apparently doesn’t matter if a woman makes the choice to do these jobs, none are kicking and screaming and by all accounts being a grid girl/ring girl was a sought after job that women were queueing up to get. Strip clubs have strict house rules that both workers and customers have to adhere to and because they’re licensed it means that council officials will pay regular visits to make sure that these rules are in place, so by closing them, all you are doing is driving them underground where they won’t be licensed and the women working there might well end up being exploited so well done all you ladies of The Women’s Equality Party well done but I’m assuming you’re going to be helping all these ladies you’ve put out of jobs to pay their mortgage/rent/bills because that’s the least you can do when the women with families who like the hours these jobs provide as it fits round the kids end up on the breadline thanks to your moral high ground.

Apparently the pathetic reason that these awful women gave as to why a popular strip club in Manchester that has been there for years shouldn’t have their license renewed was that they said it must be intimidating for the women who live near to the strip club. Really? Listen love, I feel more intimidated as a woman walking through Piccadilly Gardens in broad daylight with all the idiots off their head on drink and drugs than walking down a street with a strip club advertised discreetly as a “Gentleman’s Club”. But let’s not forget the real sucker punch here, surely being a feminist means that women have the choice to do whatever they want? To have a group of feminists telling women that they don’t like the choice of job that certain women choose because they don’t like it, what’s up love, did Nigel get caught when you went through his pockets after a night out with the boys and found a card advertising a certain establishment. Stick to what you know, get back on your mumsnet forum asking is it ok if Lily’s headband matches Freddie’s socks and leave the grown ups to get on with it.

Jacqui Wright. Aged 60. Who would love to be objectified now.

Now could someone please tell the DJ which song I want to be playing when I make my debut working that pole.

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It’s Been A While…

It’s been a while since I’ve been on a date but as always, all dating apps/sites are very busy in the new year as everyone seems to have made a resolution that this will be the year that they find someone so everybody seems to make a big effort, well for 5 minutes at least so it’s been no surprise to find loads of messages from guys all wanting to get to know me better. So after sifting through them and not even replying to the 80% of “Hi” I got into conversation with a few guys and decided to meet up with “P” for coffee at Media City. For some reason some dating experts sneer at coffee dates but for me it’s a really good way of finding out if we might want to go on an actual date and an hour is long enough (too long sometimes) for both of us if the conversation has dried up but to be fair that has never ever happened as most of my dates don’t know when to shut up.

I’d spoken to P on the phone a couple of times and I had noticed that he did talk a lot but I put it down to maybe nerves and also maybe he liked the sound of his own voice but here we were at the coffee place where I was about to find out.

He liked to talk.

It’s been a while since I’ve had my ears battered with the sound of whinging bitter middle aged men and I had almost forgotten how much they can go on about themselves, but especially about an ex. Guaranteed that when a guy makes a reference to an ex but then says “I don’t want to talk about it” I’m being told things I don’t want to know within 10 minutes. P was no exception but by the end of his tirade I was feeling sorry for his ex. He called her stupid, a bitch, and the reason they split up was because “She said NO to EVERYTHING!” I’m guessing that wasn’t the reason, she probably called it quits when she found out he’d been buying properties but not putting her name on them (which he was bragging about) but all he could focus on was how many times he had to tell her how to use the washing machine properly as she had a habit of shrinking clothes when washing them. I didn’t even give P an hour, my excuse (which was the truth) was that I had to get into Manchester to an open mic comedy might where I was praying that the acts would be funny after such a depressing date because this is what these guys don’t seem to realise, we’ve met up because we could be interested in each other so what better way to impress than express your hate for an ex. The last date I had before this one didn’t shut up about his holiday in Havana so if anyone is planning a trip there then get in touch because I can tell you all you need to know. He was still talking when I put my coat on, picked my bag up and walked off, maybe women are also guilty of this, who knows?

It’s not been all bad though, any older women on dating sites will tell you that they get messages from young guys in their early twenties and I’m no exception but usually after saying thanks but no thanks they go away but for some reason I have a particular 23 yr old who seems very persistent, we all know his reasons for wanting an older woman but it does make me smile and yes it does give you a confidence boost. But how ironic when a lot of older guys my age want younger women but I’ll put money on that they aren’t getting messages from them asking for sex.

Now could somebody please pass me the earplugs.

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Do More Of What Makes You Happy.

So all the Christmas adverts have been out for a couple of weeks now but for me my favourite has to be the one featuring Elton John, the one from John Lewis purely because I can relate to every era that they showed his look alikes in. Not sure it embodies the Christmas spirit as it seems to be more of an advert for Elton’s film coming out next year but I love it because it’s all about the music. It also brings back memories of living in Gibraltar in 1982 when the Falklands war was on and at the time Gib seemed to be a stop off point for some of our lads on their way to war. One 19 yr old guy in particular took a shine to me and was forever buying me things (even though he knew I was seeing someone) and one of the things he bought me was the Elton John single “Blue Eyes.” I’m absolutely ashamed to say I can’t remember his name but I hope he got back home ok.

Getting older means you’ve learned many lessons some good, some bad, not many people get through this life unscathed so I now try to focus on the things that make me happy although obviously working full time restricts some of the time I can spend on these things but I’m trying my best. The one thing I can make more of an effort with is going out dancing, especially when I go to northern soul nights and I see some of the same faces that were there at Wigan Casino with me nearly 45 years ago, a lifetime ago but on these nights it feels like yesterday.

Wigan Casino. A place that attracted coach loads of people from all over the country every Saturday night, it opened at midnight and closed at 8am and didn’t sell alcohol, it had a fabulous sprung dance floor which made it so much easier to dance to all the songs played by your favourite DJ and as much as I loved to dance I also loved watching all the other dancers, especially the guys. A place I never told my mother I was going to when I was 16 years old she always got told I was staying at a friend’s on the other side of town (no mobile phones in those days) and she never questioned it. A place I couldn’t wait to get to when I got on the coach at 10pm and got there an hour later and waited in the horrendously long queue for the doors to open and then hope to god I wouldn’t get crushed in the stampede to get inside. A place that had more male dancers than female and there was a pecking order on the dance floor, unfortunately I wasn’t that good to get to the front. A place that was so hot with all the body heat that everyone took at least one change of clothes and wore wrist sweatbands. A place that at the time was just somewhere to go to that played the best music, but it was in fact a movement that’s gone down in history. I loved Wigan Casino.

A couple of years later I stopped going and one of the reasons was I had a new older boyfriend and we used to go to all the “in” places in Manchester, he wasn’t a northern soul fan and so I just stopped going. I became a bit of a poseur being seen in the right places and as much as I always liked to have a dance wherever we went I never lost my love for northern soul. The scene has never gone away and I’ve made the effort a couple of times this year to go to a northern soul night (bit of a trek on public transport but hey ho) and it’s been great but a bit surreal to see people I knew nearly 45 years ago. But the weird thing is for those few hours we’re all in our teens again, back at the youth club which is probably where most of us were introduced to northern soul, back at Wigan having the time of our lives, sprinkling the talc on the dance floor and loving every minute. But it’s not just all old people on the dance floor, there are soul clubs with young people and it’s always nice to see the younger dancers there although some of the older guys might forget that they can’t do the splits anymore (I have heard of torn ligaments) trying to show off. Music makes me happy and next year I intend to go to more northern soul nights no matter what.

Now somebody pass me that talcum powder.

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Why I Go On Holiday On My Own

It’s been that time of year again when I go off to wherever on my own, for the  past 3 years it’s been Ibiza but I’ll be looking to go somewhere different next year and it will definitely only be a week as 11 nights was a bit too long for me, but of course the same old inevitable question was asked, “Why do you go on holiday on your own?” Older people my age seem to have a bit of a problem with this, someone at some point will sidle up to me while their partner or group of friends look on to try and see what the poor sad single woman is going to say, and usually I’ll make some flippant remark about it should have been my honeymoon and I got stood up. or my partner ran off with the Jehova’s witness who apparently knocked on our door 6 months ago, just to see the embarrassment on their faces as these people are never the ones to say “On your own? Come and join us!” No, usually theses are the people who feel sorry for me, as I clearly have no friends if I have to holiday alone right?

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

At my age some of my friends have their own apartment elsewhere that they like to holiday in with their partner, family and grandkids, or a caravan that they like to take to different places, not everyone likes my idea of a holiday which consists of lying in the sun all day, couple of glasses of wine, reading, people watching then more wine. I’ve never been one to get involved in groups of women who all get together to go off for a weekend to Barcelona, my mouth always seems to get me in trouble if I take a dislike to someone (and vice versa) so it’s easier not to get involved, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a get together with a group but holidays are a bit different.

But I must admit that sometimes I wish someone was with me to see the likes of Carol kicking off in the hotel restaurant when they didn’t have any vanilla ice cream one day and demanding to see the holiday rep to complain. Carol with her clip in curls that she wore around the pool with a sun visor on with the curls peeking out the top and her sunglasses perched on top of the visor, think she might have been channeling her retired tennis player look but I was more concerned with the fact that her husband wore more jewelry than she did. Or Sharon and Gillian who were on the next table to me one evening telling me all about the operations they’ve had which quickly became a competition between them both as to who has had the worst time. It turned out to be Sharon who had had a swab left in her throat after an operation but they were kind enough to give me the name of a really good consultant should I ever need a hip replacement. Or the woman who fell off a 2 foot high stage in the karaoke bar one evening and broke her ankle. I wasn’t the only single woman in the hotel though,there was another single lady I’d say 50 ish who provided some entertainment for all of us as she got off with the guy who did the quiz in the hotel one evening, did the walk of shame more than once straight into breakfast (you can imagine everyone absolutely LOVED that) and decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool when everyone was going into the restaurant for dinner, a sure way of getting everyone’s attention, look at meeeee.

There are many reasons why people choose to go on holiday alone, there’s pros and cons of course but for me it really boils down to this. I have a week off work booked and I can either,

1. Sit at home on my own in Manchester and look out of the window and watch the rain.

2. Sit on a beach on my own wherever I choose feeling the sun on my face.

Decisions decisions.

Now please could someone pass those clip in curls to this sad pathetic older woman.

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Turning To Dust Is Not An Option.

At the beginning of last week I was excited to see an interview I’d had with the fabulous Carol Vorderman was shown on the Lorraine programme as part of a series that Carol has done about what it’s like to be over 50 and dating and well just being fabulous. Yep, I’m more than qualified to give an opinion about that but we did in fact talk about how life now is very different to how we thought it would be, it is in fact far better than we expected it to be except for dating, (on my part).

Too many older guys think they can still attract a 35 yr old and the guys a bit younger than me who have taken care of themselves also want to attract the younger women so where does that leave all of us gorgeous over 50 women who are smart, confident and hoping to find someone to spend the rest of our lives with? We attract the guys looking for a “mealtime and holiday companion” as Reg from Runcorn is fed up of eating his Wiltshire meal for one on his own. Pete from Preston too scared to get on the tram to Manchester as he’s not been there for 15 years, we attract the guys who are retired with too much time on their hands but hope you’ll spend time at their allotment with them, (quietly of course) guys who want to be seen with a smart looking woman but would prefer it if you keep your opinions to yourself. But while older guys would like a younger woman what they don’t know is that every single woman over 50 on dating sites/apps will receive messages from young guys in their early twenties, and I don’t care why they do it as it definitely boosts a woman’s confidence.

Don’t believe me? No I wouldn’t have done either but being over 50 has it’s advantages. For a start we’ve probably reached as far as we can get career wise so maybe we can relax a bit in that department, kids have probably left home which means we have a lot more spare time, if we’ve got grandchildren then we have the best of both worlds where we can have them for a short time knowing we can give them back to their parents and everybody’s happy. Hopefully we’ve realised that we don’t have to stay in an unhappy relationship and however scary it is to be on your own, it’s far more scary to waste your life staying with someone just for the sake of it. But do you know what the best thing is?  The days of chasing promotion are over, the days of being a full time mum are over, the days of wondering if your latest love interest is cheating are over, the days of trying to be everything to everybody are over, and it’s great. But let’s not forget that this is also the time we become invisible which means the pressure is OFF. Nobody expects a single thing from us older ladies, not one, nothing, not an opinion, an original idea, a suggestion, nobody expects a damn thing because by now no one sees us so as far as society is concerned we are worthless, we’ve had our life, done our bit, raised our kids so thank you and good night.

This is when the fun starts. Now is the time to reconnect with who we were when we were younger, before the kids, the exes, the daily grind of just getting through the day which means trying to build up that confidence to step out and do whatever the hell it is that makes us happy. When I was a teenager I used to go to Wigan Casino where I used to just dance all night to northern soul from midnight until 8am, obviously I wouldn’t dream of doing that now but there are loads of northern soul nights going on which is full of people my age and now and again I’ll go to one of these (on my own) and just do what I love to do. I’ve also started to go on holiday on my own (which actually winds up a few people my age but there you go) and I absolutely love it, people are always friendlier on holiday and more likely to talk to anyone. The thing we all have to realise is that by now the road ahead is shorter than the one behind, whatever you want to do just do it. Turning to dust is not an option ladies.

Now could someone please pass me my diary so I can pencil in 23 yr old Matt for Monday night.

 

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Bullying Comes In Different Forms.

Bullying comes in different forms as anyone who’s been watching the events unfold on this season of Celebrity Big Brother will be able to tell you. Roxanne Pallett has given the performance of her life as she accused another housemate Ryan Thomas of physical assault, a dangerous accusation to make in front of strangers who don’t know each other well enough to work out if she could actually be lying. A playful tap from Ryan became an emergency call for an ambulance 5 minutes later. (Alright maybe not that drastic but it may as well have been.) A request to sleep in another bedroom as “she didn’t feel comfortable being in the same room” set the ball rolling for what became a really uncomfortable lesson in bullying. By the end of the next day the playful tap had now become repeated punches to her ribs according to Roxanne, and the guys were willing to believe her because why would she lie?

But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen bullying in the Celebrity Big Brother house. Remember Jade Goody? Jade was in series 3 of Big Brother and although she didn’t win she became the nation’s sweetheart with her ditsy ways and knack of getting things mixed up, so everyone was looking forward to seeing her enter the house again in season 5 of Celebrity Big Brother in 2007. Unfortunately what we saw was relentless bullying by Jade and a couple of the other housemates of the woman who eventually won, Shilpa Shetty. When Jade was evicted crowds were prevented from gathering outside the house and press conferences were cancelled, her agent dropped her and her perfume lines were hastily removed from the shops that sold them. Overnight she’d gone from hero to zero, until 18 months later while being in the Indian version of Big Brother she received the devastating news that she had cancer and by the time she died a few months later the nation had forgiven her.

Unfortunately for Roxanne, a couple of guys have come forward to say that she had also accused them of physical violence when working together, which makes some people think she might have mental health issues. I haven’t a clue if she has or she hasn’t all I know is I’ve watched a lie get bigger and bigger and no matter what, people know the difference between right and wrong but she clearly wasn’t going to back down and say that ok, maybe she over reacted a bit, she was enjoying the drama a bit too much unfortunately she’s forgotten that the house is full of hidden cameras. She’s clearly an underrated  actress as her acting skills are superb, but I’m not too sure we’ll get to see them again any time soon unless it’s in something already recorded.

But what I will say is this. When someone gets engaged to someone a week after meeting them I think that tells you all you need to know.

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Is There Anybody There?

A couple of weeks ago I ended up going to a psychic evening, never been to one before but the psychic in question was someone I’d seen on a programme a couple of years back about psychic mediums in the North West. The programme was in fact hilarious and had the potential to run for a series but instead it was just a one-off but it had obviously made some impact on me as I paid good money to go and see what this guy could or couldn’t do.

I don’t really believe that a whole group of spirits are waiting to send a message to a certain group of people waiting expectantly to hear from them, it’s a bit too convenient for me but I understand why people go and hope to hear something from a loved one. The thought of never seeing someone again is too much to bear and so all the people in that room are waiting and hoping to hear a message, anything at all from the other side which makes it easy to claim that yes, it’s aunt Mary with the gammy leg when given a generic description of a spirit with a message just for them. Some people might say this is a way of making money from people’s grief, while others say what’s the harm if people get comfort from it? Either way I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect so I clapped along with everyone else when the psychic walked in.

I got the impression that some of the people had been to see him before, and listening to people’s conversations it was clear that everyone hoped that he’d have something for them, except me, I didn’t want that at all I was just there for the ride but it had crossed my mind that quite possibly I might get chosen to hear a message from a loved one telling me that it’s ok, they’re happy and everything’s fine because that seems to be the standard message because really what else can they say?

So I sat back and watched.

I watched while this guy picked out people who sometimes claimed he was right, and others who claimed he was wrong but it was all a bit Derek Acorah for me. He could see these spirits and was also talking with them (apparently) but he said the same  to everyone after a brief chat which was the usual the spirits were watching over them but he also said that the spirits missed them which didn’t seem right but then again I’ve never been to one of these evenings before so what the hell do I know. But what did throw me was that this psychic used names and that’s unusual, there was no 15/20 guesses like “Jim, Billy, Jack no it’s Fred” this guy seemed to be spot on with every spirit’s name for some reason but then again he has a lot of followers on Facebook and I’m guessing that a lot of people who follow him have been in contact with him through Facebook, which might explain why he knew so much, just a thought.  Anyway, we were heading toward’s the interval when for me, it got a bit too much as he welcomed the spirit of a young man who’s mother was (conveniently) sat in the front row and he told her that her son was coming to give her a kiss and that she would feel a brush of cold air when he touched her. You can imagine how upset this woman was, she was absolutely sobbing but I’m guessing this is what she wanted to hear and if she got comfort from that who am I to judge. But like I said, that was a step too far for me and I left to go home so I’ll never know if there was a message for me but I do know I’ll never go back to one of these psychic evenings so if the spirits are watching over me (but I like to think everyone is having way too much of a good time to be watching over anyone) maybe it will be when I’m shopping and I’m on the wine aisle when I hear a whisper in my ear. “Jacqueline, step away from the wine”.

 

Maybe.

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When It’s Time To Let A Friendship Go.

Earlier this week I met a friend for coffee, someone I’ve known for 20 years, and after we’d said our goodbyes I decided there and then that I was probably never going to see her again as I realised that actually, she wasn’t much of a friend anymore and hadn’t been for a while.

Friendships (like any relationship) need working on sometimes and I’m probably as guilty as everyone else when I haven’t put the effort in now and then or put someone off as I can’t be bothered meeting up that particular day but I like to think I can be relied on when needed, especially when a friend is going through a hard time and let me tell you, it’s never the ones you think will have your back when the chips are down, there’s always one or two surprises. Friendships come and go, but a small amount of people will be in your life forever and we’re all lucky if we have those friends we can rely on but it’s not all plain sailing. Like I said I’ve know “C” a long time, we’ve had a couple of holidays together and what I liked about her was that she was always up for a laugh, always the centre of attention and up for anything.

So with hindsight, I should have seen this coming.

A few years ago I had to start a new life and part of getting on with it was dating, which is when I started a blog which led to writing for Metro for a year as an older dater and while most people were supportive there was radio silence from C. Not the end of the world of course, so I expected to hear from her when I’d been on First Dates, as obviously I’d told EVERYBODY but again, not a peep from C so I gave it 3 weeks then I text her asking had she seen it and she said she had and she didn’t like it and the reason she hadn’t been in touch was she’d been busy. A little alarm bell started ringing, surely not? I let it go as an episode of Rip Off Britain was coming up a few weeks later where I was to be talking about single supplements on holidays and she said she would definitely be watching. No she never got around to it and that’s when I realised she didn’t like the attention I was getting so I stopped telling her about anything good that was happening in my life as I knew she wouldn’t like it. Our phone calls and texts were dwindling and I was starting to come away from every meet up thinking what a waste of time it all seemed as I was having to censor everything I was telling her but I also knew that to our mutual friends she seemed really supportive so no one but me knew the truth. To be honest I stopped looking forward to seeing her but when I found myself in her neck of the woods earlier this week I text her and asked her was she around and did she fancy meeting up for coffee, to which she replied yes she was.

The last time I’d seen C was back in January when I’d just started Slimming World and since then I’ve lost 2 and a half stone so obviously I thought this would be the first thing that she’d notice but apparently not. I was sat there in clothes 3 sizes smaller than usual and she didn’t say one word. Not one. I of course didn’t mention it as it was another positive in my life so I came away thinking what is the actual point? I don’t give up on friendships lightly but if that particular friend isn’t being supportive then I don’t need them in my life, we all go through phases in some of our friendships where we wonder sometimes is it worth it but for me it’s time to let this friendship go. We all deserve friends who support us in all the good stuff and the bad stuff, who defend us, who want the best for us, who offer a shoulder to cry on and also tell us when we’re out of order, nothing less will do.

Now someone pass me that lettuce leaf.

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The Grass Isn’t Always Greener.

This time 30 years ago, me, my ex husband and two kids (which included a 3 month old) sold everything and went to start a new life in Australia. It wasn’t ever a dream of ours, it was just that the opportunity came when my ex was offered a job in Melbourne so we decided to sell up with the intention of never coming back.

At the time the job was offered we had a two year old and I was expecting a second child, and where my husband’s new boss was sympathetic to a degree, he wasn’t prepared to wait for months for my husband to start his new position so I was left behind for a few weeks trying to sell a house and keep everything going until he came back just before our second child was born. Three months later we were on our way.

Luckily for us my husband’s firm put us up in a rented house for three months while we looked around for our own place to buy, (we called the police one night when we thought we had burglars but it was just a possum on the roof, yeah, that didn’t go down well) which eventually we found in a place called Sunbury, a small up and coming town which was a really nice place with most of the houses very similar to the ones seen in “Neighbours”, large bungalows with huge gardens ideal for families. So there we were, ready to start our new life. One of the first thing’s I did was to get my older child into a nursery just so he could make new friends and have some sort of routine after dragging him away from everyone he knew and of course he loved it, which left just me and my girl all day everyday, so in order to go anywhere I learnt to drive but never had the confidence to drive very far, in fact I’ve not driven for 25 years and never missed it.

What I hadn’t bargained for was the wildlife. If it walks, swims or flies in Australia then it bites, even if it’s not poisonous so the spiders became an issue. I did used to have a fear of spiders but living there cured me of that as we have absolutely nothing here compared to the so many different species that can harm you there. Unfortunately all the snakes in the area we lived were poisonous so there was no way I was prepared to let the kids play out in the garden, and there seemed to be plagues of things that only lasted a couple of weeks but you just felt like you were getting attacked from all angles.

Before we emigrated I had heard that Australia was a bit behind the times when it came to how they treat women but I wasn’t convinced of this until we decided to go out one Saturday night. Where we lived there were three pubs in the centre of town (c’mon how many do you need?) so we got a babysitter, got dressed up and decided to try them. Believe it or not I wasn’t allowed in two of the pubs because I was female so we tried the third. As we walked in it was obvious that the ladies didn’t really frequent the pubs where we lived, as it was full of men in vest tops, shorts and flip flops, to say that we stood out like a sore thumb was an understatement, we didn’t even finish our drinks before we decided to leave and that was the one and only time we ventured into the bright lights of our town centre for a night out.

I tried, I really did but I was becoming really homesick. I missed my friends, my social life, my job and as much as I’d made a few friends in Oz I was never going to adapt to going to the odd  tupperware party as the highlight of my social life, so although I understood why my ex didn’t want to come back (it is a man’s country) he could understand why I couldn’t stay. We came back after two years but there’s no regrets, I’m glad I went even if it wasn’t for me and I would say to anyone that if it’s what you want then go for it.

The grass isn’t always greener.

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Age Is Just A Number Right?

I’ve been dreading this birthday. Out of all the milestone birthdays, this was the one that was going to change how I felt about myself, and how others might perceive me, (although I shouldn’t care what total strangers think) once I’d hit what used to be the official old age pensioner status.

The big 60. At one time it was retirement age, free bus/tram pass, eye tests,  free swimming, all the perks of becoming officially old but as we all know those goalposts have been changed so now it’s no different to any other birthday, except it is because 60 sounds so OLD. It shouldn’t, we’re all living longer and people seem to enjoy being older a lot more than previous generations have, but it’s still the one birthday that strikes fear in the heart of everyone approaching it. So instead of dreading it I’ve had to flip my thinking and embrace it as a positive because actually it is. This upcoming birthday motivated me to go to Slimming World just after Christmas, and up to now I’ve lost 2 stone but will keep going until another comes off even though I feel pretty good now.  Part of getting older also encouraged me to think about doing an exercise class, so I started Zumba last week and hopefully I’ll be making the time to do other classes, I can’t even remember the last time I was stood at the back of the class (the only one last week with make up on, what can I say it soon slid off with sweating too much) trying to keep up with everyone else but I loved it, I’ve not felt as good for ages.

So up to now it’s all good and to be fair the last decade was one of the best I’ve had, it had it’s ups and downs but on the whole it was fantastic thanks to all the fabulous things that happened, (I never saw that coming) in fact I would go so far as to say it was almost (but not quite) as good a decade as my 20’s which is usually everyone’s defining decade. Almost but not quite but I never expected it to be as good as it was so maybe there’ll be some fabulous stuff  coming up, who knows? I have plans guys, I have plans. So today I celebrated my birthday, and the celebrations will continue at the weekend because no matter what happens, up to now I’ve had an amazing life and I am a goddess after all.

Now someone please pass me the champagne.

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Almost Famous.

I was never a massive fan of Jane McDonald. I didn’t mind her, I remember watching her when she was on “The Cruise” 20 years ago and I used to watch her on Loose Women and thought that she seemed genuine, warm and down to earth so when the chance came to apply for a ticket to see her record her new Channel 5 series Jane McDonald and Friends at Media City, I thought it would be a nice way to spend a Thursday evening as Media City is literally round the corner from where I live.

I was sent a ticket along with an email asking did I have any funny stories about dating or relationships to which I replied “How long have you got?” After sending a couple of dating stories I was told that I would now be given a priority ticket and that maybe I would get to speak with Jane on the programme, along with the other audience members with stories to tell. This was beginning to sound a bit exciting.

On the day a few of us were seated close to the steps so it was easy for Jane to ask us for our stories, no point being sat right in the middle with no microphone, although to be fair most people will agree that I probably didn’t need one. We were warned though that she probably wouldn’t get to us all but I was hoping she’d ask me (I didn’t want this spray tan to go to waste) as I’d spent ages getting ready. It’s been years since I’ve been to watch a TV show being recorded and I’d forgotten how long it takes, and how hard people work, luckily for us that night we had a fantastic warm up man who kept the energy up for hours so it didn’t seem as long waiting for Jane to change into yet another fabulous dress. Before long Jane was doing the audience participation and came to speak to a couple right in front of me about how they met. Then she asked a couple who were sat right behind me about how they also met but she never got to me. That’s ok though, I was bound to be seen in the audience so I was happy with that and I have to say I really enjoyed the show and came away from it a bit of a fan.

Last Friday was the last episode of Jane McDonald and Friends so I was watching it trying to catch glimpses of myself in the audience, waiting until they showed Jane talking to the couples sat really close to me. It didn’t happen. Obviously a show that’s taken over 3 hours to record then has to be condensed into an hour so unfortunately a lot of stuff ends up on the cutting room floor so I reckon those couples who’d been filmed were fuming that they weren’t seen. So Jane never got to hear about some of the really bad dates that she would probably have to endure herself if she was single and dinosaur dating.  How some of the bald, fat old men seem to think they can get a woman 20 years younger who looks like a Victoria’s Secret model. How some of them get anxious if they have to leave their postcode to meet, or how most of the “spontaneous, lives life to the full, never a dull moment” is boring Brian with far too much time on his hands so likes to message his intended up to 50 times an hour and woe betide you if you don’t reply as quick as he would like.

Maybe next time.

 

Nenewho

 

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Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right.

It’s been a strange week with some of the guys on my dating sites, no dates (not been on one for ages) but had to block someone, another guy seems to have memory loss and I’ve been told things by more than one guy (that a lady shouldn’t hear) but that was actually my own fault.

Early in the week I had a brief chat with “J” who claimed he was getting extremely bored with what was on offer as no one seemed to have a sense of humour, so he responded to my profile as it seemed we could be on the same page. I wasn’t actually convinced as I know from experience that what some older guys call humour, I just don’t find funny. They’re either too wild and wacky for me (such as posting pics of himself in summer clothes rolling around in the snow, what am I like look at meeeee) or telling old corny jokes from Christmas crackers circa 1979, either way it never ends well, so I was hoping that J wouldn’t fall into either of these two camps.

He certainly didn’t.

The chat went on to WhatsApp where instead of conversation I was sent gifs that didn’t really merit a response but  after a few of these I was sent “funny” videos that of course weren’t at all funny. By this time I’d long stopped replying but the videos and gifs kept coming. Then one evening I answered my phone to a guy shouting at me about using his wi-fi and I should be paying for my own, after a bit of a heated conversation he hung up and I had a notification that I’d been pranked. The penny didn’t drop until J messaged a couple of days later asking did I pay for my own wi-fi, oh J, you’ve just signed your  own death warrant there, good luck with your search.

Remember the guy who ditched me on the day of our second date, to go and have ice cream with a “friend”? We had a really good first date last summer but when it came to day of the second date he kept changing his mind about meeting up and then said we should leave it until the week after, only to send me a photo on WhatsApp later that day of two ice creams saying he was with a friend.  He actually messaged a few days ago on a dating site asking how I was etc, I gave him a brief reply and that was that until today when he’s sent a message saying he’d like to meet. It clearly didn’t work out with whoever he ditched me for but he’s either suffering from memory loss or he thinks I am because as far as I’m concerned he had his chance and blew it. It’s a NO from me.

Meanwhile, I’ve made a new profile and trying to keep it light I’ve sort of said I’m good at keeping secrets if anybody has any, and do you know what some guys are telling me their secrets, not actually ones I want to be told as some are about their sexual fantasies (you wouldn’t believe some of them) but it seems to be the younger guys who are doing this. Any older woman who is dating will tell you that they get loads of messages from younger guys, absolutely loads, so it looks like I’ll have to go back to the drawing board with a new profile.

Nothing surprises me any more.

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Blocked For Being Brutally Honest.

In some ways older dating is different, but in other ways it’s the same as everyone else except maybe for some of the expectations from a few of the guys I’ve spoken with. A blast from the past popped up a couple of weeks ago, a guy I’d been chatting with when I first started online dating (but pied me because he fancied his chances with someone else) messaged to ask why was I still single? Well Alan, that’s the 64 million dollar question but I soon found out why he himself is still single.

I know what I’m looking for and have accepted that there will probably have to be a couple of comprises, (tall dark and handsome has gone right out of the window) but Alan said that he was looking for someone that not only ticked the right boxes but would also be prepared to start a new life in Spain with him. He wants to retire there but isn’t prepared to start a new life there on his own and maybe find someone, he’s hoping that he’ll find a woman here who’s prepared to leave her family and grandchildren behind (if she has any.) Not fancying his chances there to be honest. But he’s not the only one who’s told me this, remember Colin, the 64 yr old I was grappling with at Piccadilly Gardens bus stop? He said exactly the same. He’s lived in Spain before and would like to go back but not on his own, so he’s also hoping to meet a woman who’s up for it. I understand that at our age the road ahead is shorter than the road behind so it makes sense to try and do what makes you happy. A last ditch attempt to try and start a new life somewhere while you still can, I’m all for that (I’ve done it for god’s sake) but I certainly wouldn’t expect a new partner to be on the same page. That’s a hell of a lot of pressure on someone and to be honest I like to think if a woman wanted that herself she would have gone and done it.

But it’s all about waiting to meet someone before starting the rest of your life. So many people (especially older people) won’t go on holiday/out to dinner/even the bloody cinema on their own. They’re waiting for someone before they make any plans for the future which I find is a sad way of thinking. I said the same to Alan which infuriated him. “What? So you think I’m sad?” Well yes as it happens. ” I think that people who put their life on hold while waiting to meet someone are sad, yes. You are expecting far too much from a potential partner to fulfill your life, in other words you’re relying on someone else to make you happy. That’s a lot of pressure on someone. You need to realise just because it’s your dream doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same.”

And then he blocked me. Blocked for being brutally honest.

In other news I’ve been chatting with a guy who I thought I recognised and after he’d asked me out on a date I remembered that actually, we’ve already been on a date. After I pointed this out he said he thought I looked familiar but couldn’t actually remember the date.

Not sure how I feel about that.

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In It To Win It.

In the past week my timeline on Twitter has been full of bloggers  tweeting about how they’ve been shortlisted in their category of the UK Blog Awards, which of course is great news for them. They’ve put themselves forward to enter a competition to win the prize of a stamp of approval on their blog, and if they want that verification then all well and good, it certainly doesn’t mean that any blog without it isn’t worth reading. I for one read blogs that interest me, keep me entertained, and have something I can relate to, and I usually like a person’s writing style. But some people don’t care if you’ve won any awards or not, some people want something for nothing which means asking some bloggers to write for them for free.

I’d not been blogging for long before someone in the dating industry got in touch and asked would I write a piece for their newsletter seeing as how I’m in a bit of a niche as an older dater, (free of course.) Yeah no problem, did an article for this woman but then I noticed that whenever she tweeted it she always “forgot” to tag me in it so I never got much credit for that, it was just free content for a newsletter that she didn’t have the basic manners to acknowledge me for. Lesson learned.

More recently a woman based in Manchester asked me if I would be willing to contribute blogs for her start-up business which was to cover all aspects of dating. Again, she wanted this for free but then went one step further by saying I could be an ambassador but there was absolutely nothing in it for me. She said anyone visiting the website would be sent links to my blog but I was sceptical about this arrangement. I said I’d think about it and after a couple of days I saw that she had obviously paid a company to look after the social media side of her business, well if you can pay them, you can pay me. After taking some advice from someone who is at the top of her game in the dating industry, I was advised not to do it for free, but to charge. So I did. I wrote one blog for her and that was it, after that her website was “having some changes” and I believe her business has folded now so god knows what she’s doing these days.

Most bloggers write for themselves but obviously we all like to think that someone is actually reading it. I know that some people read mine, they might not always comment on it or “like” it when posted on Twitter but I know that one particular person read the most popular post of all (interview for Playboy) as she went in fancy dress as a bunny one night, wearing something that she could only have known if she’d read the post, but at least people read it. But fake people pretending that they’re doing you a favour in order to promote their business is something else, I now say I don’t do anything for free unless it’s by choice if they want to pay fine, if not, fine. In the meantime I’ll just carry on as normal, but I won’t be entering any competitions for bloggers.

But to all the bloggers going to the final of the UK Blog Awards. Good luck.

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It’s That Time Of Year.

I’m not a fan of looking back, it reminds me that I could have probably handled a couple of situations better than I did, and it’s too late to change that now, but having said that it’s also nice to see all the good things that have happened in the past year so I’m going to concentrate on remembering all those as we wait to welcome in a new year.

  1. Back in January I moved into my lovely new place which is unofficially known as “Goddess Gardens.” At the start I didn’t have much but by the end of the year it’s not looking too bad if I say so myself.
  2. I didn’t realise how many radio interviews I’d actually done over the past year, usually about online dating of which I know a lot about unfortunately.
  3. In May someone on Twitter let me know there was a picture of me in Heat magazine. After an awful few minutes of hoping it wasn’t one of me stuffing my face with a sausage roll while sat in the smoking section outside of where I work, I was relieved to see it was a promo shot of Channel 4’s First Dates.
  4. Back in the summer I went on a really good date, was looking forward to a second date but on the day my date decided (after a lot of indecisiveness) to leave it until the week after. I think he might have double booked to be honest and couldn’t decide who to go for on the day but the fact I have met someone half decent has given me hope. And no, I didn’t meet him again, we had a date, he changed his mind a couple of hours before we were due to meet. Game over.
  5. In September when Hugh Hefner died I was invited to be a guest on the Dr. Pam Spurr show on Talk Radio talking about being a bunny back in the day. One of the questions she asked me did make me smile though, “So, did you and the other girls ever get excited thinking Hugh might walk in the club any minute?” The guy lived in America for god’s sake so I answered truthfully. “Not in Manchester Pam, no.”
  6. In October I went on a blind date for a national newspaper, all expenses paid for at the restaurant of my choice. After listening to Colin telling me the most outrageous things that apparently he never tells anyone, (why me Colin?) we left the restaurant to walk to the train station/bus stop.  I’d already warned him about trying to grope me outside the restaurant, but unfortunately he didn’t listen. Grappling with a 64 yr old at Piccadilly Gardens bus stop in Manchester isn’t my idea of how a date ends, so there was no second date for Colin.

So here we are, it’s that time of year where we all reflect on whether it’s been a good year or not. For me it wasn’t all good, some bad stuff happened but I’m going to focus on the positives and hoping next year will be even better.

Hope it’s a good one for everyone.

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The Blind Date.

A few weeks ago I went to a fabulous restaurant for dinner on a blind date paid for by a national newspaper. Both of us had been matched by someone who was running a feature about older daters and of course I was looking forward to it, as anyone who has agreed to go on a blind date must have something about them already.

A photographer came round to my place 2 hours early and had patiently been waiting for me to get home so he could set up, but he then had to wait for me to get ready. The dress code is quite strict with photographs especially where colour is concerned so the outfit I’d originally planned to wear for the photos was considered to be too dark. White was also a non starter as were certain patterns so the end result was probably the only outfit we could use,(didn’t wear it on the date though) so luckily it turned out alright.

It’s always strange meeting someone on a blind date but I like the fact I don’t know anything about them, there’s been no interaction so I have no expectations. Colin was the perfect gentleman, was easy to get on with and had plenty to say, although that didn’t seem to stop him drinking most of the wine. He told me a couple of things that made me think he was  probably not for me but he was in fact good company but it wasn’t long before he made it quite clear that he liked me, and I mean REALLY liked me, so much so that after telling him I was off to Ibiza on holiday that coming weekend he said that he could probably come out there himself and where was it I was staying? After laughing it off and saying he was joking (he so wasn’t) he decided to try and show off by talking Spanish to the Italian waiters who obviously couldn’t understand him. On that note we left the restaurant and made our way to Piccadilly Gardens.

Once outside Colin tried to link me, then he was rubbing my back, pawing at me and generally trying to pull me close to him until I told him to stop it. Once we got to my bus stop he insisted on staying with me until the bus came and thought it would be an opportunity to pull me close to him even though he says in his interview he knew I was uncomfortable with it. He gave me his number (no intention of using it) and that was that. The journalist doing the feature rang both of us to ask how we got on a couple of days later and she mentioned that Colin had said I hadn’t been in touch.

Two days and Colin said I hadn’t been in touch.

I told her all about the date and about how he was way too keen and how off putting it is and she agreed before saying “Why don’t you just text him to thank him for the date?” But I did that on the night, he knows, I don’t want to encourage him, I know EXACTLY what will happen. “To be polite”, she said. Hang on a minute, I’ve done my bit, I’ve been polite enough putting up with everything that happened on the way back to the bus stop, Colin’s had a good night let’s just leave it. “Just be polite” so I messaged him.

What a mistake that was.

I was bombarded with messages every day while I was on holiday, I didn’t even reply to most of them but that didn’t stop him. He wanted to know which hotel I was in, he could come over and stay, (this is the problem with retired guys too much time on their hands) we were going to have such a good time, apparently. This after just ONE DATE. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, I’ve been on enough dates to know when something’s not right. Because I didn’t reply the messages stopped apart from Thursday mornings when I’d get told who was in this week’s feature of Blind Date in the paper.

Until today.

Today it was our turn to be in the paper with our blind date and I think some clarification is needed to explain the difference between a “good date” and a “good date” where you want to see someone again.

1, I didn’t fancy him, if I did that would have gone a long way to wanting to see him again.

2. The fact you have something in common doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere. In our case our common interest (apparently) was the fact he lived in Spain doing dodgy dealings and I lived in Gibraltar at a completely different time drinking too much vodka that put me off for life. Enough to ride off into the sunset?

3. Just because we’re older doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be as picky. I’m still working, most guys I date are retired which means that they will be sulking as I don’t have the time they need to be at their beck and call and even though they’ll all say they love the fact I have my own life they don’t like it at all.

4. People can lose their confidence when it comes to dating and I understand that, being too keen can mean they’ve forgotten what the rules are and if that’s the case then it’s fine, but don’t push it when someone says “No” that’s just being an idiot.

5. When you’ve been dating a while you’ve been on enough dates to know the difference between a “good date”and one that means you can’t wait to see them again. How many people do you see on First Dates who after the date say they want to see each other again but then don’t?

6. Chemistry. End of.

I had a nice time, we had a good date but it wasn’t enough, just couldn’t see myself with him no matter how hard I tried and a goddess won’t settle for second best. To add insult to injury after I’d been on the blind date when I got off the bus near home I crossed  the road, tripped, and fell head first along the pavement which resulted in a damaged knee ligament.

No Colin. you weren’t worth that.

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7 Random Facts About Me.

In response to a challenge that some of the ladies on Twitter were up for I jumped on this but as it’s only 7 facts there will be another post that will include a lot more.

1 Australia.

When I was married (long time ago) with a 2 yr old son and expecting my second child my ex husband was offered a job in Australia, and after thinking about it we decided to go with no intention of coming back. So off he went to start the job and I was left to sell the house while waiting for him to come back a couple of weeks before I was due to give birth. All went well and when my daughter was 3 months old we all travelled as a family to Australia to start a new life. I wish I could say that I loved it but I found it hard. Not so much looking after a new baby and a toddler but what Australia had to offer in the way of insects, spiders and anything else that walked swam or flew. We had actually bought a house in Melbourne but after 2 years we called it a day and came back to Manchester but I have absolutely no regrets, it just wasn’t for me.

2 Was once offered a part in a porn film.

When I was 23 I went to live in Gibraltar as it really is England in the sun and I loved it. I stayed a year working in a bar in a hotel and then eventually working in a bar /restaurant on the marina which I loved. One day I was followed down the street by a German guy who said he was a film director and wanted me in his next film. After explaining that I wasn’t an actress he said it didn’t matter but he stalked me for a few days begging me to be in this film. One evening while out with friends I was telling them this story and one of the guys said that he actually knew about him and that he was a porn film director. Looks like I missed a chance there then!

3. How I became a blogger.

Anyone who reads my blog will know how this started. Just over 5 years ago I should have been moving back to Gibraltar, long story short I ended up in Salford where I’ve had to stat a new life and part of that was online dating. Some of the dates were that bad ( we can all relate) that I started a blog about it. This led to writing for Metro for a year, being featured in Woman magazine and a few radio interviews. It also brings me to…

4. First Dates.

I absolutely love First Dates on Channel 4 and have watched it from the very first episode. Believe it or not Fred didn’t actually join First Dates until series 3 and I appeared on an episode as a main dater in series 4 and LOVED it! It was a long day though as I’d travelled from Manchester and as soon as I went to get changed I realised that I’d left part of my outfit including shoes, behind. Gutted. The production team really do want to match you with someone and a lot of work goes into it behind the scenes and luckily my date was everything I wanted in a guy, on paper. I had a great time even though he forgot my name and I answered, “Goddess”, but even though I knew he wasn’t into me  I could have lied at the end when they ask if you want to see each other again, which people seem to do every week. That was a great day, no regrets there.

5. Someone stole my profile once on POF.

When I first started online dating I wrote (even though I say it myself) a cracking profile. It took me ages to do it as I wanted to stand out and it wasn’t long before some lazy git stole it for himself and tweaked it so it was about him. Didn’t take my pics obviously but he sent me a message asking could he use the profile and I said of course not write your own!  Next thing he sent me a pic of his new profile which was mine and said “What do you think?” I reported it but nothing happened and now and again check to see if he’s still using it and after all this time he still is as he hasn’t got the brain cells to write another one.

6. I had the biggest baby in the hospital.

My first child was a boy and as I got bigger I wasn’t really that worried about it (having got good child bearing hips apparently) until nearer the end when the scans showed that actually, this was going to be a big baby. I won’t bore you with details but when he was born he weighed 10lb 13 oz. I can actually hear everyone’s intake of breath when they read this, but yes he was that big. Every single item of clothing had to go back and swapped for bigger sizes and he looked like he was already 3 months old. Thank god for caesarean section that’s all I can say.

7. Playboy.

When I came back from Gibraltar I got a job at the Playboy club in Manchester in the early 80’s and I absolutely loved that costume. Memoirs of a Playboy Bunny Part One is by far the most popular post on my blog and when Hugh Hefner died a few weeks ago I was asked to be a guest on Talk Radio on Dr Pam purr’s show on Saturday night. My one regret is that I don’t have a photo of me wearing that costume, but there it is.

So that’s it, my 7 random facts about me, hope you enjoyed them.

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Bye Felicia.

Earlier this week I joined a Facebook group for women over 50, hoping I’d maybe have some stimulating conversation and possibly meeting up for drinks or whatever with a couple of them who live in Manchester. Within 24 hours I’d had a message from admin because I’d upset someone with a comment I’d made to them, so I realised that yet again, this group was not for me. Someone had posted asking where there any good men left at our age? So I replied that in my experience of dating them that yes there are, but there are different problems dating older guys so I gave a quick summary.

Doris from the stone age didn’t like it.

She then posted her own post saying that someone was “men-bashing” and as she herself had been married to Burt for 100 years I was talking bollocks. Bring it on Doris, bring it on. I applaud women who have been married forever as I’m sure that a lot of hard work has gone into that but for a lot of us life has turned out to be a bit different for whatever reason and let’s not forget nobody gets married to get divorced, or expect to be widowed. So Doris got a blistering reply and obviously then reported me after deleting her post and that was that. But that’s ok because I have joined these sort of groups before and it always turns out the same, because a lot of the women seem to be retired some of them seem to have a lot of time on their hands and sit on Facebook all day. Every single day is the same.

“Morning everyone, it’s cold here in Bristol”.

“Morning Claire, it’s cold here in Edinburgh but I’ve got the kettle on.”

“Oooh are you having biscuits?” says Gladys in Kent.

“On my third cuppa already” replies Sue in Portsmouth.

And then there will be at least a hundred other women replying saying something very similar.

Can you see my problem? I have eyes, windows and a tv to watch the weather forecast. I can see for myself what the weather is like as I set out for work, I don’t need a running commentary about tea, biscuits and the state of the garden. But it’s not just that, there will be posts about “What were your favourite sweets as a child?” or “Does anyone remember what their school uniform was like?”  I appreciate that for a lot of women these groups are great, a way of communicating and maybe making a couple of new friends but unfortunately it’s not for me. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s hard being this fabulous.

Bye Felicia.

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Excuse Me??

This time last year I had such a good holiday in Ibiza, on my own, that I decided to do it again and because I’d left it last minute to book I was pretty limited on what was available, so I ended up staying in the same hotel as last year and as usual that meant my single room was overlooking the bins/car park. Not really a problem as I didn’t intend to spend much time in it apart from sleeping, just annoying as this seems to happen every time I go anywhere on my own. Of course there were different people on holiday this time, thankfully no stalker, but there is one thing that stands out on this holiday that I won’t forget.

It wasn’t the group of four lads who had come away on a lads holiday and obviously some time after the holiday had been booked one of them had got himself a girlfriend and she’d ended up tagging along.

It wasn’t watching the hotel cat run off with one of the parrots halfway through the parrot show.

It wasn’t listening to a group of women over 40 who were absolutely slagging off one of their group, whilst giving me pitying looks that I had come on holiday alone.

It wasn’t the man who was leaning across my table for one while he talked to someone he knew, knowing that he was totally blocking my view until I had to ask him to move, which he wasn’t happy about.

It wasn’t the 25 older Spanish women who arrived on my last day who were a breath of fresh air as they insisted on line dancing to most of the songs being played by the pool.

It wasn’t even overhearing a woman telling a group of people  ” I couldn’t eat my salad tonight it had too many alopecia.”  That must be a new name for jalapenos.

No it wasn’t any of those things, it was when I was out one evening, sat alone on the terrace of a bar when a young woman came out for a cigarette and noticing I was alone she asked could she sit at my table while she smoked. We started chatting and a woman sat to the left of me with her husband decided she’d join in the conversation telling us that she was 64 yrs old with a daughter of 45 and a grandson of 25. We both just looked at her and said “Right” before carrying on our conversation before we were interrupted, with the older woman muttering about rude people. A couple of minutes later the young woman asked had I come on holiday with someone?  Hearing that the older woman turned to me and said ” Yes, we were wondering that, why have you come on holiday on your own?”  Oh I see, you’ve clearly been talking about me then so it’s time you were put in your place love.

“It should have been my honeymoon.”

That shut her up.

It doesn’t bother me going on holiday on my own, but it bothers other people, especially older people.  The women hold on to their partners that little bit tighter and don’t even give me eye contact never mind a “Hello” in case I get ideas about running off with their Fred (Fred should be so lucky) but that’s ok. What is NOT ok is to be so rude and to ask someone WHY they are on holiday alone so that woman deserved the answer she got.

No wonder my ears were burning all week, and I thought it was sunburn.

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Tinder Problems

I’ve not yet had one single date from being on Tinder, not one. I turned up for one but my date didn’t, only to be told (after I’d messaged him that I was at the designated meeting point and I couldn’t see him) that actually, something had come up so he’d have to check when he was free again and let me know.

Good luck with that mate.

I’ve had a few conversations, but no one I’m remotely interested in especially after the couple of happy go lucky souls I’ve been chatting with this past week. One of them “B” seemed a bit quiet, a bit shy, (fine) and during the day we didn’t communicate much as we were both at work but later on in the evening I’d get what he probably considered to be flirty texts, but in fact were inappropriate and offensive, and I told him. “Oh it’s just my sense of humour love.” And that’s the problem. A lot of older guys don’t realise we are now in the 21st century and humour acceptable in the 1970’s is now inexcusable. The same thing happened a couple of times, this guy didn’t get in touch until late evening after he’d had a couple of drinks which made him brave but totally offensive. “This isn’t working B, can’t get a decent conversation out of you until you’ve had a few drinks  and then I don’t want to hear what you have to say”. He explained that he couldn’t relax until he’d put his 11 yr old daughter who lived with him to bed.

What??

Not only had he dug his own grave with the offensive “jokes” he’d now flung himself in it telling me he had a young daughter who lived with him. I expect the guys I date to have grandchildren, not younger kids who still live with them. I’m not a single person in my 20’s/30’s or even 40’s where I would expect that, this guy is 61 and I for one am not signing up to be someone’s step mum. He also had three daughters, and we all know what happened one time I went on a date with another guy who had three daughters, he left halfway through the date after receiving a phone call from one of them for some “emergency”.  But B knew his days were numbered and in a last ditch attempt to change my mind he said ” I’ve lost weight since those profile pictures were taken.”

Game over.

Another guy I was chatting with went straight in for the kill, no messing about, no chat, just when and where should we meet but “Not on Tuesday as it’s my mother’s funeral.”  Personally I’d have thought he had other things to worry about other than chasing dates but there we go. Tinder problems. I also had the same problem on Match though, not a single date from that, just guys too lazy to message even and just send a “wink” to let you know they’re interested. Sorry guys, no effort, no reply. And let’s not forget all the matches made, only to be unmatched an hour later for whatever reason I will never know.

Tinder problems, who needs ’em.

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Virtue Signalling aka A Big Fat Lie

We’ve all heard the term “virtue signalling”, but I’m not interested in how it’s used by politicians as a smug way of expressing disgust or favour for certain political ideas, I’m more interested in how people use it in everyday life by making a statement or performing an action that implies they’re such a really nice virtuous person, and if I didn’t know any better I would be offering to rub that halo of theirs in appreciation.

If I didn’t know any better.

In order to look good a virtue signaller has to have an audience, (no point otherwise) so when I was  moving into a new place over a weekend and everyone in that particular group of friends had offered to help in one way or another, instead of saying they couldn’t help, someone came out with. “Don’t forget, call me any time, I can help with anything you need, I’m free that weekend.” safe in the knowledge that I won’t ever call them on that as they live miles away. But how good did that look to everyone else who heard it?

Years ago I worked with a woman who’s ambition was to be the landlady of  her own pub and eventually she got her wish. It was round about the time I had left where I was living and moved to Manchester but news and gossip still trickled through to me as it wasn’t exactly a million miles away and one day a friend of mine had stopped to speak to “S” in the street and asked her how she was coping with running a pub and restaurant. “If only I knew where Jacqui was I’d have her working for me in a flash.” Aww isn’t that nice. My friend believed this but I wasn’t convinced as she would only have had to ask a couple of people to find out where I was, so let’s call her out on that one shall we? I did the one thing that she never expected, I phoned her and said I’d heard (from quite a few people by now) that she was wondering where I’d moved to as she would love to have me working for her, and luckily for S I would be able to work every other Sunday as getting there and back would be no problem,  (absolutely no intention of doing this) and guess what? She now had all the staff she needed and what a shame as it would have been great, blah blah blah. In other words, it was all a big, fat lie in order for her to look good and have people say to me “How nice of her”. Like I said, I know better.

Obviously not all virtue signalling is meaningless as when a disaster strikes there’s always hundreds of people trying to help and meaning it, but for most of us we will encounter some form of it which will in fact turn out to be a BIG. FAT. LIE.

On that note it’s time for me go and save the world if only I didn’t have to be in work today.

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Ask A Stupid Question…

One of the things I love about Twitter is having a ringside seat at some of the spats that go on between total strangers, (and I have been known to get into one or two scuffles myself) but time and again, especially when everyone’s watching any current dating programme on TV, the same question gets asked of dating/relationship experts who do it for a living.  “How can you possibly know what you’re talking about if you’re single?” A lot of people seem to think single people are a failure with bad advice to give if they themselves haven’t managed to find the Holy Grail.

I beg to differ.

I for one would rather take advice from someone who’s still on the playing field, still in the game who can offer advice on how to play. Someone who knows how much the dating game has changed in the past few years, it wasn’t that long ago when there was a huge stigma attached to online dating, now there’s hundreds of apps to choose from and it’s where most people will find what they’re looking for. I would rather take advice from someone who is also going on the bad dates, who is also getting ghosted, breadcrumbed, benched, catfished, who knows how absolutely exhausting it all is, but keeps on doing it anyway. The reason these people giving advice are single, is probably the same reason we all are. We know what we’re worth so won’t settle for second best, won’t put up with drama, the “not sure what I’m doing that night”, the cancelling of dates 2 hours before you’re due to meet up, the chasing after you and saying all the right things until you finally give in and agree to a date only for them to lose interest. The guys who say maybe you’re the one but then you find out they’ve been seen out with someone else, or the ones who want a relationship but all on their terms.  I want to hear advice from someone who still knows how hard it is, not someone who’s been in a relationship forever and hasn’t a clue how much things have changed.

It’s a little bit different for me as I’m in the older dating puddle (certainly not a pool) but I have a lot of the same problems as everyone else, so I’m always open to any good dating advice, especially coming from someone who is single.

The struggle is real guys.

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10 Things I Like About Me.

Watching Love Island where Olivia tells Chris the 10 things she likes about him, made me wonder what I would get told if anyone ever said the 10 things they liked about me. It’s easy to think of the faults you have, the things you’re not good at, the things you would change if you could. But now and again we all have to remind ourselves what makes us special to our friends and family and focus on the good points, and after digging deep I might have found some.

1. Confident.

I like the fact that I’m confident, especially now I’m older when it’s easy to lose that confidence as you’re not too sure of your place in the world anymore. I don’t mind taking myself off for a week’s holiday on my own, or calling in to one of the many places in Manchester for a quick cheeky wine when I’m out and about shopping. I like trying new places and if everyone I know is too busy I don’t mind going alone, it beats staying at home and doing nothing.

2. Honest.

I am what is known as “brutally honest” which I hope doesn’t mean that I upset too many people, but to be fair if I don’t like you then I probably won’t care. At the same time, I hope I’m not someone who is vile to people using the excuse of “Just telling you like it is.” If you don’t want the truth don’t ask me.

3. Brave.

I never used to think I was brave, but the past few years of starting a completely new life and everything that’s come with it (good things) means I can look back and think if I hadn’t pushed for some things to happen, I wouldn’t be enjoying life so much.

4. Good Judge Of Character.

I think this comes with age and life experience to be honest. I can spot a liar a mile off, or drama queens, and so I keep my distance. Some people like to suck you in to their full on made up lives, but the clues are always there. To be fair these people usually avoid me once they realise they’ve been sussed.

5. Spontaneous.

I’ve always been spontaneous, done things  that I should have maybe hesitated over, but most things I don’t regret.  Emigrating to Australia might not have been the best idea but I’m still glad I did it, I don’t want to think about all the opportunities I’ve missed when I’m on my death bed.

6. Good Listener.

Well I like to think I am, hopefully other people think so. I might give some unwanted advice but I will always listen.

7. Opinionated.

Well now, opinionated can also mean “gobby” but I usually am very vocal with my opinons. It doesn’t mean I won’t listen to you if your opinion is different to mine, but you’d better have a good arguement to back it up. I’d rather stand my corner than sit on the fence.

8. I Have A Good Heart.

Honestly, I do. I can come across as abrupt and a bit scary, (I even scare myself sometimes) but I would do anything to help my friends and my kids. I’m sure I must seem unapproachable sometimes but once you get to know me hopefully you’ll see I’m not a bad ‘un.

9. Open Minded.

Working with younger people means it helps if you are (I think), I learn a lot from them in how society is changing. I’ve got to keep up with everything that’s going on in the world and too many older people find it too easy to just hang on to old ways.

10. Happy.

It’s been a long time coming but I like who I am. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but it really doesn’t matter as I respect, love and like myself. Not perfect by any means but I don’t think the list for things I don’t like (unless it’s physical) would be longer than this one. Does that mean I think I’m all that? Well yeah, but it doesn’t mean I think I’m better than anyone else, I just know what I’m worth.

And so should you.

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Close, But No Cigar

There was me getting all giddy about a second date, purely because I haven’t met many men that I would like to go on a second date with, and the ones that I have wanted to see again haven’t wanted to see me so this was exciting to say the least. Within a few days of chatting with “B” we arranged to meet up on Sunday for a couple of hours, both of us agreed there was absolutely no point in endless messages only to meet up and find that actually, we have nothing in common so I met him close to Piccadilly station, on the day that the EDL decided to have a march through Manchester and as it was kicking off we ended up in a lovely hotel bar.

There I learned that B had been married twice, and had spent the last few years in France with his second wife before she left to come back to England after one of her children had had a baby. “Do you have grandkids?” he asked. “No not yet, do you?” He answered that no he didn’t but he was glad that I didn’t have any as apparently he believes that if you’re with someone then that person should be their number one. This works perfectly well when you meet when you are young, no kids, no distractions, but life changes as we all know. ” Yes but surely you know that you’ll slip down the number one spot at some time if kids and grandchildren are involved? There will be times when you are needed to give your attention elsewhere.”  “Maybe, doesn’t mean I like it.”  So I let that one go, for now. It was nice to hear that he liked going to watch live music and he said that he’d been to watch a Pink Floyd tribute band the night before.  “Not for me I’m afraid, never liked  prog rock could never get into it.” I told him. Two hours flew by and it was one of the best dates I’d had in a long time so I was more than happy to meet up again.

The next day I had a text asking did I want to go and watch the Pink Floyd tribute band with him on Friday as he was going again? “Not really, going to pass on that, pretty sure I told you I didn’t like them.” “You did but thought you might appreciate some musical education.” I declined and sat back waiting for an alternative that didn’t arrive. In the meantime I had noticed that in nearly all of our conversations he turned it around to sex which was really beginning to annoy me and make me feel a bit uncomfortable, I don’t mind a bit of banter but this was something else. So, we managed to arrange a second date and both of us agreed we were really looking forward to it.

Which should have been today.

Having arranged to meet at around 4 this afternoon I had a couple of texts this morning. ” Will have to drive but not sure I can see you without having a drink, maybe we should meet next week around 12 and then we have all day.” All day for what? To drink?  I don’t think so. This is in between getting texts saying ” Really looking forward to seeing you but not sure you are feeling the same as me.” Oh come on now B let’s not start sounding needy, then I remembered that this guy likes to feel special, to know he’s number one but this was only a second date after all. So, around 1-30 I had another message saying that he wasn’t seeing me today after all he’d rather wait until next week when instead of a few hours we could have all day. Talk about being indecisive.

I didn’t reply.

He then found me on WhatsApp and an hour later sent me a photo of himself with two ice creams saying ” Not had a mega ice cream for ages.” “Mega as in two?” I replied. “Oh the other is for a mate lol.” I don’t know if it was or maybe he’d double booked himself today I really don’t know, all I know is that we’d arranged a date and as far as I’m concerned I was given not very good excuses as to why he didn’t turn up. But here’s a tip, don’t be the idiot who sends a photo through social media saying what a good time you’re having after you’ve  cancelled a date.

Bye Felicia.

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Rumour Has It.

Women are good at a many things but one of the things that they are really really good at is bringing other women down, especially if they see that you’re doing well. Forget the sisterhood, all bets are off if you dare to try to stand out from the rest of the flock for whatever reason, as this is when you find out who the wolves in sheep’s clothing are. The post that went viral of Kerry Whittaker, the Asda checkout girl who was slated by other women for wearing make up reminded me again of how nasty some women are.

When I first started blogging and posting on Twitter I was anonymous, only a few people knew who I was and one of them was happy to retweet any blogs I posted as I obviously wasn’t a threat to her at the time. I’d been really supportive of any of the things she’d been doing which included a couple of TV appearances on her part, a blog she was also doing, and generally just trying to be a good friend. This changed when I got on First Dates. By now I’d realised that there was no point being anonymous as the guys I date have only just discovered Facebook never mind Twitter so I was quite safe that none of them would read it. It was now time for me to have the support but unfortunately she was too busy to watch First Dates, and also the retweets of my blog suddenly stopped and not long after all contact stopped.

But she wasn’t the only one.

I went into work the next day and more than one woman dropped her eyes as she walked past me rather than say “Hello” so I knew they’d seen it. The same women who I’d been laughing and joking with the day before but obviously overnight I’d grown two heads. Then there was the friend who didn’t get back to me at all after watching the episode until three weeks later as she’d been “too busy” and  another woman I know didn’t speak to me for six months. Then there was the one who had a conversation with everyone else who had watched it but didn’t mention it to me at all. The men on the other hand were great, they wanted to know all about it and asked loads of questions which I was more than happy to answer (unless it was someone who never ever spoke to me usually so don’t start now). So, as well as two heads I’m guilty of other things. Apparently.

Rumour has it that I ‘ve changed. Well I damn well hope so as life changes all the time which means you have to change with it. It’s called evolving. When someone says that about you it usually means that you are doing something they don’t like.

Rumour has it that I think I’m all that as I wear full make up every day and it usually comes from women the same age who don’t make the effort. Listen love, try saying that to Joan Collins.

Rumour has it that at my age I shouldn’t be on dating sites for god’s sake I should just give up and get a cat, stop chasing men and accept growing old gracefully. The irony in this is that the women who say this are usually married or in a relationship.

Rumour has it that I love myself as I’ve been on TV. Of course I do, I’m Jacqui Wright bitches.

Sometimes things happen in life that changes everything. That happened to me five years ago when I ended up in a place I wasn’t supposed to be so I had to make the best of it. This included starting to date again which led to so many other things as we all know and now some people don’t like it. I don’t remember seeing many of you there when life wasn’t so good though but that’s ok.

But the funny thing is that some of these women who’ve had to plenty to say, been unsupportive, ignored me for whatever reason, will declare that they are my best friend or say that we work together/went to school together or stood at the same bus stop for five minutes if they ever met anyone who said they knew me. Women are always so quick to knock other women down and some of the worst are always bitter middle aged women, but that’s a whole other post.

True story.

 

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Wedding Season.

As wedding season approaches and everyone gets their invite to celebrate the wedding of a friend or family member, I wonder how many people will actually be asked not to attend an ex’s wedding due to the insecurity of the bride/bridegroom?

Surely I can’t be the only one this has happened to but that’s another story.

Although I love a good wedding I’m always curious as to what happens after, as believe it or not I have seen more than one woman transform herself from a gorgeous glamorous creature, to looking like she wouldn’t look out of place on one of the benefits programmes on Channel 5. It’s not just women who are guilty of this transformation of course, men are just as bad and it would seem that people who do this are guilty of the same thing. Complacency. They’ve got what/who they wanted, so they stop putting the effort in, mistakenly thinking that now they’re married they can stop trying so hard. A woman might stop making such an effort with her hair and make up, spend a lot of time in pyjamas and housecoat at weekends thinking that it’s ok, she can relax a bit. Instead of doing the things they used to do/places they used to go, a guy might be more than happy to spend a lot more time with his football mates. Instead of spending most Saturday nights out with friends or enjoying the odd weekend away it’s suddenly become having a takeaway slobbing about in front of the tv, putting weight on as neither of them goes to the gym anymore as what’s the point? Their partner doesn’t mind that they’ve lost muscle tone, gone flabby and spends most of their time on social media barely looking up when spoken to. Their partner doesn’t mind that date nights don’t happen anymore or that they rarely seem to go anywhere now. Their partner doesn’t mind that the lads have booked him on that weekend away when they should have been visiting her family. They’re married, they love each other. End of.

For a lot of people getting married or moving in together signals an end to trying. Trying to keep that man or woman interested in the person they first met. The glittering funny woman who always looked fabulous and had a story to tell. The guy who could talk you through how to deal with the office bully while you were both relaxing at that spa weekend. It’s not about being dressed up to the nines all the time with full slap on but it is about making the effort. Talk to each other, remember why you got together, not to mention date nights. Sounds like hard work? You’re right, it is but so many people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to try anymore.

You know what the biggest killer of relationships is? It’s not infidelity, it’s apathy. True story.

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Sorry Not Sorry

Now and again I ask Twitter to stop recommending that I follow other dating bloggers, as I have now reached my absolute limit of following so many women in their 20s/30s who all have a tale to tell but which inevitably becomes the same one.

I’ve been where you are, dated the same guys with the same bad result. The narcissist, the commitment phobe, the guys who have already got a girlfriend, the ones who are on a rebound, the ones who want you back when they hear you’ve found someone new. The insecure ones who are controlling, abusive but it’s all because they love you so much. The ridiculously good looking ones that rely totally on their looks and have the personality of a cobweb. The charming ones who always have a really good story as to why they let you down big time by not turning up for your sister’s wedding/nephew’s christening or Christmas day at your parents. The cheats, the liars, the ones who say you’ve got issues when you try to confront them with the latest Facebook message from some girl you don’t know telling you bad things about your guy and what he’s been up to. I’ve dated them all at some time or other and as you get older you’ll realise that there are certain things you won’t put up with anymore.

As an older dater you probably think we don’t have much in common but believe it or not, some guys don’t learn lessons. I’ve been breadcrumbed, ghosted, catfished and been let down at literally the last minute on the way to meet up. It would seem some things don’t change and as we all know the problem with dating apps/sites is that guys are not willing to commit in case there’s a shinier prettier, funnier younger version of you just around the corner.

I totally understand why some women a lot younger wouldn’t feel as though they could relate to an older dating blogger, how could we possibly be on the same page? I’ve had my family so the pressure is off for me in hoping to meet someone to start a new life with, so there is that difference. But no one gets married to get divorced, you just never know where life’s going to take you so all of us on the dating scene is actually meeting the same guys, they’re just called different names but at my age mine are certainly not known as “the boy”.

So here’s the thing. As much as I’d love to read each and every blog it does become a bit like groundhog day where I feel as though I’m reading the same story all the time, and sometimes it’s a bit like all the teenage angst we all went through. Does he like me? Should I have said that? He’s seen my message on Whats App 5 hours ago and not replied? What if he thinks this that and the other?  Was going to tell him I love him but not heard from him for 2 weeks? The ones I end up visiting on a frequent basis are the ones that tell me about other stuff that’s going on in their lives as well as all the dating drama. Sorry ladies but there it is.

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One Last Adventure.

It was binge watching A New Life In The Sun that did it. I didn’t even know that the programme even existed until I found it on catch up and started to get all involved with watching other people trying to run a bar/restaurant/pop up nightclub in France/Spain or anywhere else that was in Europe where they have better weather than us. Hoping that they’d all make it and not have to come back to England feeling that they’d failed, to listen to all the people say ” I wouldn’t have come back if it had been me.”  Usually from the people who’ve lived on the same street all their lives and are frightened that they might get a nosebleed if they step out of their own postcode.

It got me thinking.

I’d like to think there is one last adventure, one more time of taking a risk and trying something new. Nothing quite as drastic as buying a barn in France or a restaurant in Spain but it doesn’t stop me thinking that maybe I wouldn’t mind working and living for a while somewhere hot. I’ve put the dream of moving to Gibraltar to bed, but I can’t stop thinking that there has to be something else to try before I have to call it a day. Years ago before I was a wife, mother and mortgaged to the hilt I used to sod off for the summer, working in various hotels or bars and I loved it.

Tresco.

The first year I did it I went to Tresco, one of the islands of the Isles of Scilly which is just off Penzance. Working as a chambermaid in a gorgeous 5 star hotel on a private beach, there are no cars allowed on the island and only one pub. As a 20 year old that was devastating for there to be only one pub and the novelty soon wore off going to it as it was quite a trek from the hotel, plus the locals didn’t really appreciate a group of noisy “outsiders” invading it.  The lovely Tresco where I burnt half my face off after I fell asleep in the sun one afternoon and had to wait nearly a week before seeing a doctor as he only visited every Tuesday when he came over by boat.

Woolacombe.

Another hotel working as a chambermaid in Woolacombe in North Devon and what a beautiful place it is. A blue flag beach which attracts a lot of surfers in the summer so it has that holiday feel and definitely more than one pub to go to on a night off. I liked the fact it’s not a particularly large place and has a lot of charm and as I was living in Bath at the time instead of Manchester, it didn’t feel as though it was too far away from home  Lovely Woolacombe where I caught the guy I was seeing in the pub with another girl.

Gibraltar.

I went to Gib looking for work as I already knew a friend who’d gone out there and she loved it, she met me at the airport and took me to where I was staying. I’d booked into the cheapest place for a week and in that time I was hoping to find work and luckily for me I found a job through an agency a couple of days later which was working in a hotel bar, the added bonus being it provided accommodation. As some of my shifts was working in the evening that gave me all day to be at the beach, and when I changed jobs to work in the bar at a restaurant on the marina, it was even better. At that time the border to Spain was closed so it became a bit claustrophobic as Gibraltar is quite small with a village mentality, and we all know how people like to gossip, you get told about the things you’ve done before you’ve even thought about doing them.  But I loved it there, it’s right at the bottom of the  Costa del Sol with English money, national curriculum in schools, and I happened to be there when Charles and Diana started their honeymoon, waving my little flag as I watched them drive through Gibraltar. It’s a weird little place and you either love it or hate it, I stayed a year and had a ball. Fabulous Gibraltar where I had my heart broken.

Life goes on and after getting married and having our family my ex and I decided to do our own “A New Place In The Sun” and emigrated to Australia. We sold up and went looking for a new life in Melbourne and thought we knew what to expect but there were a few surprises. We stayed two years and I was more than ready to come back by then and inevitabley had to listen to people asking why we’d come back, if it was them they wouldn’t blah blah blah but like I said, I like to think there is one last adventure.  Saga holidays are always looking for reps in the summer though am I right?

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A Day At The Races, Playboy Style.

One of the best times I had when I worked for Playboy was when a few of us were picked to go on a day trip to Chester races along with some of the punters. Four of us were on four different coaches and our job was to serve the champagne and nibbles to all the guys on our coach on the journey there but unluckily for me I had the manager of the club on my coach which meant no champagne for me, but the other girls had clearly taken advantage of it as I turned up sober and they were a bit, shall we say, giddy. Working for Playboy was all about image and we were under strict instructions that we weren’t allowed to have any alcohol or place a bet while we there there, which meant that we actually had a chaperone and we spent a lot of our time trying to persuade him to let us have a couple of drinks which was made even more difficult by the number of guys trying to buy us “anything we wanted”. The amount of attention was ridiculous and a lot of time was spent saying “no” to people wanting photos taken, unless it was someone our manager actually knew.

So at the end of the day I got back on the coach knowing I couldn’t have any of the champagne on offer but as soon as the coach set off back to Manchester nearly all of the guys came to me and gave me money saying “You won this love.” “But I didn’t place any bets?” They all said the same thing “No you didn’t but I put one on for you.” The manager seemed ok with it (think he’d had a really good day) as he said I could have some champagne so I accepted and as it was all notes I came off that coach with a small fortune, no doubt the other girls had the same thing happen to them, so what did we do when we got back to Manchester? We hit the clubs of course. Brambles was one of the popular nightclubs at the time and as soon as we walked in the DJ announced that there were “Bunnies in the house!” and after that none of us bought a drink all night. It’s a bit weird when people are only interested in you because of what they perceive you as, they don’t really want to know you as a person you’re just someone they’ve “met” as they push a piece of paper into your hand with their landline phone number on (no mobiles then) someone they can brag to their friends about. It doesn’t matter what you look like, sound like, think like, they’re not really interested in that, it’s all about the image, I met too many guys who only wanted me to tell them about my job hoping I’d tell them some “juicy bits”. They don’t want to hear about how your legs are aching after spending hours on your feet in heels, how your face aches through smiling all the time, trying to fend off the drunken idiot who persists in trying to touch you even though he knows the club rules, how you’ve bruises on your hips because of the costume you’re wearing, how you get daggers from the wives of the regulars at the tables because they think you’re the reason their husband comes in to the club and throws his money away. They don’t want to know the reality, just the fantasy.

So what did I do with all the money that I “won” at the races? Went on holiday of course which is probably a whole other story.

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I Don’t Need No Bad Advice

If you’re a regular on any form of social media then you know that sometimes not everyone will agree with some of your opinions, which is not really a problem if everyone agrees to disagree but sometimes I have had unwanted, unasked for advice from so called “dating experts”. Looking at my profile you will see that I’m an older dater, a little bit past my prime, but trust me I would have given any of you younger ladies a run for your money back in the day. Anyone who’s out there dating and trying to find someone will know how hard it is no matter what age you are, and some of the problems are ones we can all relate to, but I seriously didn’t know how hard older dating is until I tried it myself.

Not so long ago I tweeted about keeping the conversation going in the time between arranging a date and actually meeting up as I’ve been let down a few times (usually the day before or on my way to meet up) when there’s not been much contact. Imagine my surprise when a so called “dating expert” tweeted back to say that there should be no contact once the date is confirmed. I beg to differ, that leaves the way open for Sexy Sally who’s profile pics are of her sprawled across her bed/car bonnet/sofa in her Primarni underwear promising all sorts of things. At least if you’re keeping up the banter with your date he might decide to at least meet up with you before he goes off into the night with S.S. This expert also advised to maybe try to meet up as soon as soon as possible (maybe the next day) if  there was a chance the guys were going to get cold feet. Listen love, you’ve probably advised all us singletons to have busy social lives so which one is it? If I and all the rest of the dating world have arranged to meet a date in a few days it’s because of work commitments/social commitments and I for one am not prepared to cancel a “stripping for beginners” class and to be fair I would hope that my date wouldn’t cancel his “how to assemble flat packed furniture” class either.

Another gem was being told not to be on any dating sites/apps on Friday and Saturday evenings so that it looks like I’m too busy being out and about. Let’s face it, older daters are very likely to be home Friday or Saturday nights baby sitting the grandkids and if single, would probably appreciate a couple of chats with other singles on dating sites. I for one enjoy being out Sundays to be honest, late afternoon until around 10/11 pm because on Sundays there seems to be more of a mixed age group around. But it all sounds too much like game playing, to be told not to be available at weekends, by someone who’s probably not going to be in my position for at least 30 years if ever. Stick to what you know love because  older dating is certainly not one of them. I’m always interested in what someone who supposedly does this for a living,  has to say to someone like me as I’m all for getting some tips and good advice, and from a couple of more well known dating experts I actually have which I’ve appreciated.

But I don’t need no bad advice.

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Dating Is Exhausting

So Valentine’s Day has been and gone and I’m still single, just like I am the rest of the year. In a way I feel sorry for all the couples who feel under pressure to declare their love for each other on a particular day of the year, I would like to think I’d get flowers, chocolates and taken out for a romantic meal any old day of the week instead of being in a restaurant on February 14th with all the other couples trying to prove to the world how happy they are. But hey, I’m single, what the hell do I know?

What I do know is that a couple of weeks ago I was getting a couple of dates lined up with a couple of guys who seemed to be just what I was looking for. One of the guys was a bit younger than me (bonus) and he seemed really keen, a lot of texting, couple of phone calls and because all us single people like to make sure we have busy lives we arranged to meet a few days later. The day arrived when we were due to meet and as I hadn’t heard from him I didn’t get ready. Later that evening I had a text saying “Sorry, been really busy with my daughter, can’t make tonight.”  No I wasn’t impressed to say the least, because since the day we’d last spoken to arrange the date there had been no contact at all. I’d text him a couple of times and he’d replied but nothing like it had been so I was a bit confused.

Confused but bloody fuming.

The same thing happened with guy number 2, really keen and once we’d arranged a date all contact ceased, radio silence, nothing but apparently he’d been “too busy”.  I for one like to keep the communication going because I’ve been here too many times when just before I’m about to meet a guy he’s text (too scared to phone) to say he’s met someone else. Let’s be realistic here, we all keep our options open and I still chat to other guys when I’ve arranged a date with someone so it doesn’t surprise me if they do the same but I do think it doesn’t help if all communication/banter stops before you meet as guys are easily distracted by bright shiny things half undressed so I say keep talking.  Having said that, guy number 1 had the audacity to text me on the morning of February 14th to ask was I free that evening? Not for you love, no.

Dating is exhausting no matter what age you are, but it really is different when you’re older as everyone is bitter and cynical. I’ve heard too many stories of an ex wife/partner who took all the money/cheated and now these guys are really wary and I’m sure some women must have the same story. They tell you that they can have their ex back any time they want, even though that ex has been married to someone else for 20 years.  They tell you that their kids prefer them (as though it’s a competition) and they tell you that no, they don’t really want to find someone but they’re under pressure from the kids but they wouldn’t mind someone to go on holiday with. They tell you that they’d prefer you to be thinner, taller/shorter and with a different colour of hair. I could say the same as I’m sat across some bald fat misogynist who still doesn’t realise we’ve entered the 21st century. Dating is exhausting, time consuming and soul destroying, You have to keep hoping that you’re going to meet someone who you just click with, someone who you want to spend more and more time with, and who feels the same about you.

And don’t even get me started on the guys who slide into your DM’s on twitter asking for “fun and cheeky stories.”

Maybe I’ve reached the limit of stones unturned.

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Liar Liar Pants On Fire

So apparently there are more and more reports of people (usually women) losing thousands of pounds to online dating scammers, but I’m not surprised. On one particular dating site I’m using I can get up to 8/10 scammers a day getting in touch with me but how do I know that they’re scammers? Because they sound too good to be true.

As a woman of a certain age I am indeed a prime target for these low life scum who’ve nicked someone else’s profile picture (they only ever have one) and then proceeded to write the most cheesy profile ever but because they’re targeting a certain age group some of them make sure to include things that they think will probably appeal to some women, and unfortunately it does seem to work. Practically all of them that I get live in America, are doctors, or generals in the army, and a lot seem to be peacekeepers in Syria. All very noble jobs if only it was true. Most are widowed, leaving them with at least one child that needs a mother, and to cover all bases, they are great believers in the church. They place great emphasis on loyalty, communication, love, and finding the right person to grow old with.

” I’m a very loyal and open minded person, dedicated and generous person, most that know me say to a fault. I need a companion that is open and will communicate her feelings to me and to talk to her about her day, desires, wants, needs, family, friends, goals, dreams and all that affects her life to include me, my strengths and most importantly my weaknesses. I believe a person needs to know their weaknesses in order to grow. Relationships are works in progress and I might add, beautiful works for it to work. I’m looking for that right person to grow with, that is my best friend and love. I’m someone who can accept people as they are, I’m a fair individual who adapts to changes in life and enjoy life to the fullest. I pride myself in being honest and most trustworthy, I seek that in a mate. Someone who is compassionate yet understanding and has a calm demeanor and great personality. I love to travel and I would love to meet someone who I can spend the rest of my life with through good and bad times. I’m stress free and fun to be around, I love to laugh and share jokes with others and I’m a very good cook who enjoys a variety of food. I’m an avid reader and great conversationalist, I also like to have social functions and entertain friends but I’m also a very private person who enjoys the comfort of home relaxing and listening to good music, jazz,opera, gospel, reggae. I’m looking for a partner who is fun, likes to travel, very family oriented. I’m loyal and kind and expect the same from my partner. I’m honest to a fault and can’t stand people who lie. I enjoy good conversation as well as quiet quality time. I’m independent and have been on my own for almost 8 years so I don’t need someone to make me happy. I want someone to share in my happiness and allow me to share parts of their life. I love life and everything about it and it shows in the way I live, laugh and love. I firmly believe that life is good.  I love life and enjoy waking up each day, looking forward to whatever it has in store for me and I long to see and be with my companion from day’s first light until evening’s rest and my companion should feel the same way. Thinking of how to live a better life and how to find that special someone to live my life with until the end of time. Life is too short for it to be any other way. I want to meet a woman that loves the Lord and takes good care of herself physically and mentally and will love me like Jesus Christ loves the church. Lol. I just want to be loved, treated with respect, passion and understanding and most of all I want to be able to trust my partner with all my heart and I want her to trust me too no matter what. I want my dreams, fears joys and most of all my love to be hers too and hers being mine. I want to feel special and safe when I’m with her and even when she is far away from me. As for the term or length of relationship I’m looking for should be unlimited and undying love. When the right woman comes along we both know deep inside of our heart that this is what we have been waiting for. I want my woman to be my best friend.”

Well it certainly beats the standard ” Like staying in/going out. Anything you want to know just ask.”

It doesn’t matter that he lives in America, when I answer that there’s no point in pursuing it the answer is always the same. They’re about to be deployed and are planning to come to England and how do I feel about dating him? But I have too many questions such as how can he be stress free working in Syria as a doctor? How would his young son/daughter feel about moving to England to be with a stranger? How is he still single when he seems so perfect and good looking? And that’s when they quickly want to get you off the dating site and exchanging emails. Some might even suggest it straight away with ” Can’t get on here that often, how about sending me your email address here’s mine”.

But I’m a seasoned cynical dater who doesn’t trust anyone, I’m not that easy to fool.

But imagine if you’re a lonely older woman who’s started to feel that not only has she come to the end of her shelf life, she’s in danger of not even getting snapped up when she’s put into the reduced section. A woman who might be widowed, come out of a bad marriage/relationship who has low self esteem. Or maybe a woman who’s gone through life totally relying on her looks and only defines herself by being with a man. Both of these are easy prey for someone who’s willing to give them the time while also telling them everything they want to hear.

“Hello Dear.

I really don’t usually do this, sending messages to people I don’t know but your pictures have made me to change my mind. I had to send you a message I couldn’t contain myself. You are amazingly beautiful, your smile, your charming eyes, your sexy look, everything about you is just WOW. heavenly. I wonder what it would take for a guy like me to marry someone like you. You are hot, sexy, appealing and everything that a real American man needs in a woman. I’m a gentle man with a big heart and beautiful personality. I’m the guy who holds the door for you and gives you a humble smile and a soft hello. I work hard with my hands and my mind and I am more in tune with life than most people. Well educated professional man, I am cool and respectful. I’m looking for a woman that has a tender heart, kind, considerate of other’s needs and one that would appreciate having a man that would love her in a way that she’s never been loved before. I want a woman that is not too hurt and not too hard to trust again and give herself to a man to be loved and take care of in a way that will bring a joy of life and an appreciation she will look forward to every day.We can talk about anything under the sun, sharing personal experiences is cool. Looking forward to hearing from you, have a nice day ahead.”

I had one guy message me saying he’d had a bad day but never mind that tell me about yours? So of course I asked him what had happened and within 5 messages he’d said he was desperate for money as his son had written off a police car and he had to replace it. The funny thing was though that as the conversation progressed it was getting more and more difficult to understand him as the writing became more erratic.  Apart from blocking and reporting these guys there’s not a lot you can do, just follow all the rules and hopefully you’ll soon learn to recognise them but let’s be realistic here.

If it seems too good to be true, then it usually is.

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The First Date Of The Year

There’s a reason I only meet for coffee on dates, and today was a reminder of why I do it. It’s not always possible of course for one reason or another, but I’ve learned that for me, meeting for coffee is the best way purely because you can put a time limit on it if it’s not going well.

As a seasoned dater it’s easy to become jaded, I’ve been on so many dates now that it’s hard to get excited any more but last weekend I was given some good advice. Last Saturday I moved into my new place and later in the evening after everyone had gone (and there was nothing on tv on Saturday night) I decided to listen to the London radio station Talk Radio as Dr Pam Spurr was on and she was going to be talking about online dating. Now I’ve been dating a while, I know what to do, where to go to meet people, how to keep safe but I was curious to see if an expert could give me some advice that I hadn’t heard before. It had been a long day, I was tired, had one glass of wine too many and thought it would be a good idea to ring the radio station. Within 5 minutes they rang me back and I was on air listening to the fabulous Dr Pam asking me various questions about dating apps ( dating apps? You’re joking aren’t you? Older men like to stick to what they know so let’s just stay with the usual shall we, over 4000 dating apps and I’m only on 3 or 4 of them because there’s no point when guys my age won’t be using them) and do I go anywhere to try and meet guys? After answering the usual questions I was then given what I consider to be good advice.  “Always turn up for your date expecting to enjoy it and have a good time as your body language will give you away,” and that is true. It’s easy to turn up not expecting much when your last couple of dates were rubbish, so if that’s what you expect then that is probably what will happen. So with that in mind I was really looking forward to meeting the first date of the year today “D”.

We had originally agreed to meet in the evening but I changed it last minute to just a coffee date in the afternoon.

Thank god I did.

It was easy to spot him as thankfully he looked like his photos (always a bonus) although he was shorter than I expected and from the minute we sat down until he got a red card from me an hour later I think I only spoke a handful of times. I had a full hour of him telling me about every confrontation he’s ever had in work, about his ex wife stashing away money that he knew nothing about, his daughter’s problems with her ex boyfriend, his daughter’s current boyfriend and the problems she has with her future in-laws, the problems of all of his ex wife’s boyfriends thinking he’s a threat ” Because I can get her back any time I choose to.”  and to top it all while we were sat there he answered phone calls from two different people. I could feel the will to live slowly but surely slipping away. As we walked out of the place he said “I enjoyed that” and I’m sure he did, I of course couldn’t say the same.

What can I say? I tried Pam, I really did.

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The Best Thing Of 2016.

I won’t bore you with telling you all about the good things that happened in 2016, (and there were actually quite a few) but the best thing ever happened right at the end of the year. In December, out of the blue, with absolutely no warning.

I’ve been in Salford for 5 years now so I’ve been on the social housing list for a while and I’d resigned myself to the fact that if I was lucky, I might get a one bedroomed flat in the area I’m already in which would be ideal as it’s close to work and also close to Media City which I absolutely love. So every week I would check the new listings but apart from the odd property being available (usually too far away, or on a rough estate, or just totally unsuitable as in sheltered accommodation) I usually drew a blank. So imagine my surprise when in early December  I had a letter from a housing association I’d never heard of, saying they were making me a provisional offer on a two bed flat just literally up the road from where I live. After housemate and I went to look at where it was, I knew I really really wanted it before I’d even viewed it. It was only 5 years old, on the second floor of a four storey block and I knew it was going to be quiet as one of the provisions of getting one of these properties was the fact that you had to be over fifty.

After completing the paperwork I got the keys on the 16th and while I had to go to work, housemate took over and proceeded to sort out the essentials. I work in retail, absolutely no chance of getting any time off at Christmas, but not to worry I just did a bit of packing every day and housemate would drop it off when he could. We agreed that the official moving in to my new place would be January 7th so that has given me time to buy a couple of big items in the sales, get them delivered and up and running. As housemate has had the keys ( I’ve probably only been in it a handful of times) he’s had one of his mates come and help him clean it, had his boyfriend plumb the washing machine in, (and then they had to test it on a quick wash with absolutely nothing in it and they’ve told me every single wash cycle on it) found where the bins are, met a few of the neighbours, and generally took the pressure off. He’s also gone with me to various shops, stores and outlets looking for stuff I need, although I’m trying to be a bit careful here as the trouble with buying anything second hand with the intention of only “making do” becomes permanent. I did that with a kitchen table once after we came back from Australia and I had it for 21 years when it was only supposed to be for a few months. I hated it.

Apparently my name had been forwarded to this particular housing association seeing as how I was a woman of a certain age, who’d have thought being older has it’s benefits? But imagine everyone’s disappointment when they see it’s actually me that’s moved in and not my housemate. Oh well.

Bring on 2017, I’m ready for you.

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Ghosts Of Christmas Past Part Two

Another year has flown by and Christmas is around the corner yet again, another excuse for some of us to go down memory lane and remember some of the more memorable Christmas times, but not all of them for the right reasons. Christmas isn’t just one day though and over the years  things have happened in the run up to Christmas, in the few days between Christmas and New year, and New Year’s Eve itself.

Like the time I had to have a neighbour arrested  as she’d been to a house party and couldn’t remember who was looking after her kids. She decided they must be at my house even though her kids and mine weren’t even friends, and not believing me when I said they weren’t with me (at 3 o’clock in the morning) she tried to break in. She was so adamant that I had them that the police searched my house from top to bottom before taking her to the police station. It turned out that they were at the party with her and she’d forgotten to tell them she was leaving.

The time a few of us mums got alcohol poisoning at the school fayre after drinking two plastic cups of warm wine.

The time I’d gone Christmas shopping with a friend who spent every penny of the money she had for Christmas presents in the first shop we went into, on herself. She treated herself to a lovely dress and shoes from Wallis and that was it, game over, we had to come back home before I’d even bought anything. It’s a good job she looked fab in that outfit.

The time we lived in Australia and spent Christmas day on the beach, twice.

The time I went out to bring a bike in from the garden shed on Christmas Eve and slipped on the step that had iced over convinced I’d broken a leg.

The time I went Christmas shopping with my young daughter knowing that when we got back my friend had called round with a hamster that I’d agreed to have as my friend had just got a kitten, the kids loved it.

The time years and years ago when an idiot I was seeing drove all the way from Manchester to Bath (where I was living at the time) in a snowstorm on New Year’s Eve to pick me up to drive all the way back to Manchester as he said he had two tickets for Peter Stringfellow’s club The Millionaire.  He dropped me off at a friend’s house and said he’d come back once he dropped his car off.  He didn’t come back and I didn’t see him again until 6 months later, just his way of making sure I wasn’t going anywhere that night.

The one time I bought a Christmas hamper and because I wasn’t in when the Rotary club came round with their float, someone gave them two tins of salmon.

I’m sure that there’s lots of other instances but one Christmas I remember was when I was a child and both my sister and I got a doll for Christmas. In those days parents didn’t buy every single thing that was on a child’s Christmas list, you got one main present as well as an annual, chocolate coins, an apple and orange and a couple of other bits, all in a pillow case. Anyway I got a Sindy doll but my sister got a Tressy.  A Tressy doll had hair that grew when you pressed her belly button and there was a wind up thing on her back that pulled the hair back in, next to her my Sindy looked drab and boring. Sindy had short dark hair but Tressy was far more glamorous and to top it all, after a couple of days Sindy’s head fell off. She didn’t go back to wherever she’d come from and get replaced as there were probably no consumer rights back then, so I lost interest and probably drew all over Tressy’s face with a ballpoint pen in temper.

Every parent wants to give their children the best Christmas, to buy every toy that’s on that Christmas list (even though not many kids will be able to tell you what they got last year) as proof of how much you love them. As you get older you realise that corny as it sounds it’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it that matters.

True story.

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That Was Then And This Is Now.

Everybody has a story. After realising that it’s exactly four years since I started writing a dating blog, maybe it’s time to explain why I started it in the first place.

Five years ago I sold up everything to start a new life abroad, my dream of thirty years was finally going to happen and I couldn’t wait. Having lived in Gibraltar in the early 80’s I always said that at some point I would go back there to live, so once the children had grown up and started their own lives it was now my time to fly. Having sold my house I moved in temporarily with my son in Salford while I set the wheels in motion to start my next chapter. As I’d been going over to Gib on a regular basis I’d managed to secure a job in a restaurant on the marina and was hoping to start at Easter, so in the meantime I took a temporary Christmas job at the local supermarket.

So far so good. It was all coming together, I could feel it, see it, taste it I was so close.

I was kept on at the supermarket and that was fine, it gave me something to do while I counted down the days to getting on the plane to start my new life and just before I gave a month’s notice I double checked with the manager I’d been dealing with at the restaurant, to make sure I was still starting at Easter as I was about to give my notice in. “Of course!” she said. So it was all systems go, I’d found a one bed flat to rent near to the beach and was getting ready to send the deposit when in the last week of working my notice I received a message on Facebook from one of the ladies who worked at the restaurant. She told me that it would seem that no one knew I was going to be working there and I was to ring the manager as the one I’d been dealing with hadn’t bothered to tell anyone. I rang Mark the manager who was obviously the one I should have been speaking to in the first place and we had a very painful conversation where he told me that unfortunately there was no job. No problem. I was still adamant about going as I knew I’d get a job and I already had accommodation sorted once I sent the deposit but the landlord had other ideas. Unfortunately no one would rent me anything without a job and as accommodation is scarce in Gibraltar I wasn’t prepared to take the chance and just go over this time like I did all those years ago, you get a bit more cautious when you’re older. Luckily for me I was able to keep my job at the supermarket  but to say I was disappointed I hadn’t gone is an understatement.

Obviously I now had to find somewhere new to live in Salford and this is how I’ve ended up sharing a flat with my lovely gay housemate. Once I’d got my head around the fact that I was now going to have to start a new life in Salford part of that was going to be dating so he helped me to set up a profile on dating sites. After a few bad dates I started a blog which has led to so many other things that sometimes I can’t quite believe it myself.

But here we are and I’m still looking for a guy who has both hair and a sense of humour, but I’ve accepted that my job is most likely going to my last one, I’ve accepted that I’ll be living here in Salford for a while yet but that’s fine. I don’t regret moving away from a place I’d lived in for over two decades as I still feel I had to take that chance. It might not have worked out in the way I thought I wanted but I still had to try and I don’t regret that. Yes it’s hard trying to start a new life in a place where you don’t know anyone, especially when you’re over 50, but I’m happy. It would seem that Madonna’s not the only one who can reinvent herself.

As for Gibraltar? I never ever think about it now.

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Don’t Be That Parent.

Ok so Christmas is coming and  everybody’s making plans, presents to be bought, social events to be organised, party outfits to find (as well as extra cash) there are trees to decorate, all the food to buy, cards to write and let’s not forget that the true message of Christmas is, peace to all mankind.

Unless of course you’re a single parent trying to negotiate with your ex as to who’s having the kids and when.

This never gets any easier until the kids have grown up to be adults (yes it does happen) but this is the perfect time for some parents, and I’m going to say women here as they are usually, not always I know, the single parent trying their damn best to bring their children up as normal human beings, to use the kids as weapons and I can totally understand. If your ex hasn’t paid any money towards the upkeep of their own kids, only bothered once in a blue moon to actually turn up on a Saturday morning to take them to McDonald’s, never shown an interest in how their own children are doing in school, maybe caused a bit of trouble when any guy has shown an interest in you, maybe even started a couple of malicious rumours about you, introduced them to every single female that he’s been sleeping with then Christmas can seem the perfect opportunity for payback. It is very very tempting to tell these idiots that no, they won’t be spending any time with their own children over the festive period as they’ve been useless fathers all year and anyway you and the kids are going to be far too busy so there just won’t be any time.

Very tempting.

It’s probably safe to say that a lot of single parents have wanted to do this at some time, as it seems so unfair that you’ve had to put in all the hard work all year, so why should the absent parent get all the good bits? Your ex rocks up with a couple of tacky cheap presents and a huge bar of chocolate and the kids think it’s great and you’re having sleepless nights wondering how you’re going to pay the gas bill. Then your blood pressure’s going through the roof as he’s telling you he can’t take the kids on holiday as promised next summer as he’s already booked for Ibiza with his latest girlfriend so it looks like it’s going to be you and the kids in your grandma’s caravan in Fleetwood in the 6 week holidays. There’s no justice is there?

Just take a step back and look at the big picture.

By denying access you will unwittingly make your ex into a super hero. You will be seen as the bad guy as you’re the one stopping them having a relationship even though you might think you have good reasons. Children don’t usually know the ins and outs of why/how the relationship between their parents broke down they just need to know that it wasn’t their fault and that they are still  loved by both parents. Denying time spent with their father means that they won’t get to see the traits that you know (and hate) the less they see of him means they can put him on a pedestal instead of seeing that actually, he has feet of clay. Don’t threaten to stop him seeing the kids when he lets them down yet again and doesn’t turn up on Saturday morning (and you’re dealing with the fallout) because eventually the kids will see that he’s unreliable. Don’t threaten to stop the kids from going on holiday with him, or shopping, or Nando’s or any time he chooses to spend with his kids because you’re trying to protect them from being let down again, eventually they’ll work it out for themselves. They’ll make their own minds up but let’s not forget that you didn’t make this little person all by yourself, it did take two. As much as you hate it there is no way around it and there’s something you need to realise. The bigger picture means that there will be graduations, weddings and christenings where children will want both parents to be present, and even if you are not exactly best friends, hopefully you can be civil to each other if only for a day.

It’s hard being a single parent. It’s hard being both good cop, bad cop and not being able to say “Wait until your father gets home!” It’s hard knowing you have little people totally dependent on you for everything. It’s hard trying to be strong in front of them when you’re having a particularly bad week.  It’s hard trying to teach them a moral compass as to what’s right and wrong and it’s hard when you have no support from the person you should be having support from.

In return hopefully you will have the best friendship with your kids when they become adults, and if you’ve done your job right they will love you unconditionally  and when someone asks you “Would you change anything?”  you can truthfully answer “No”.   So in a way you’re in a good position believe it or not, which means as it’s Christmas and really you want to do the right thing I say this.

You can afford to throw your ex some crumbs from your table.

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So Here’s To You Mrs Robinson

On Monday evening I had a chat with a journalist who was looking for older women to talk about sex in later life. I’d explained that I couldn’t really answer that as I was having trouble persuading guys to meet up for a coffee in Manchester, never mind anyone’s bedroom. “That’s ok, we can talk about love, libido and desires.” So that’s what we talked about and after having a photo shoot done on Wednesday morning, the article was featured in the Femail section of the Daily Mail on Thursday, not only using myself but other ladies who seemed to be rather enjoying themselves in later life and who can blame them. It’s probably one of the last taboos that older people still have sex but look at this way if everyone thinks in their head that they’re younger than they actually are, it should be no surprise.

What any older woman who’s online dating will tell you though is that they receive LOTS of messages and attention from much younger guys. Guys in their 20’s who say that they can promise you a good time, have fun with, but who I think are looking for their “Mrs Robinson moment”. Nothing wrong with that and as anyone will tell you, if you’ve come out of a long term relationship/marriage with low self esteem and no confidence, of course it’s flattering to have some attention, even if it’s from guys who are young enough to be your son. That’s not for me I’m afraid but if you’re looking for some no strings attached sex, this is the perfect solution for some women. Hopefully it is just sex they’re after and not your money, although you only have to read one of the weekly “real stories” magazines to see how many women fall into the trap of believing everything they’re told. I’m sorry Mary/Sheila/Joan but you must have guessed at some point that your 25 year old Turkish waiter wasn’t really interested in you or your ageing body, especially when they mentioned marriage. No? Not even when they told you that they had a family to support so maybe you could sell your house as you seem to have no savings left. That while you’re counting down the days and hours until you see each other again, could you possibly send some money over as the deposit has to be paid on your new love nest that you’ll be sharing with his family. Or his cousin’s getting married and he said he’d pay/he and his family are moving to new premises with the family business/he wants to organise the biggest and best wedding for you as he loves you so much. Just send the money and everything will be fine.

As much as I’d like to feel sorry for these women a part of me thinks, how could you be so stupid? But then I have to remember I’ve been online dating a while which means I’m more street wise, can pick up clues and can spot a scammer a mile off. At the same time though it’s probably safe to say that most of the young guys who message us really do want that moment that was shown on the silver screen 48 years ago.

So here’s to you Mrs Robinson.

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And Then The House Burned Down.

Last Thursday I had a date, but not with the man I had originally made plans with. The original date had messaged me and after a brief conversation had asked me out on a date, and even though we’d hardly had a conversation I loved his profile, he seemed funny, switched on and so I agreed. Sometimes this is the best way to meet someone, none of this relentless chatting which can go on for ages, then meeting up and they either have the personality of a cobweb or the sex appeal of a teabag. Or both as is sometimes the case in my ever decreasing dating puddle. Anyway, we arranged to meet and then a couple of days before the date I got a message saying could we postpone it as he had to go away on business? “Of course” I said.

Anybody online dating knows that once someone has postponed you don’t usually get the chance to meet up again because of various reasons. It could be a genuine excuse or, it could be that someone prettier, shinier, funnier has caught their eye, either way the longer you’re messaging after that it’s highly unlikely you’ll meet up, and after arranging to meet up on Sunday evening I’ve never heard from “M” again. I had a feeling this might happen so when I was having a decent conversation with “D” I agreed to meet him on Thursday, especially after he said we could meet up in the Northern Quarter as he knew his way around. At last! A guy who’s going to take charge for once, who’s not going to rely on me to sort the date out, or ask me to check the tram/train times, ask to make sure it’s a quiet bar, and even check the bloody weather.

I broke my golden rule for this one by agreeing to meet in the evening for drinks, usually it’s coffee but sometimes you have to break the rules so when we met at 7-30 I was looking forward to it. ” So where do you fancy? ” I asked. “Thought I’d leave that to you as I’ve only a vague idea of where the Northern Quarter is.”

You have got to be joking.

As we headed to a popular bar this guy didn’t shut up. At first I put it down to nerves but once inside the bar I realised that this wasn’t the case. It was all about himself, when he lived in the Caribbean for 9 years, all the celebs he’s met, the friend he’s got who’s on the Forbes 100 rich list, the yachts these “friends” have, the money and the lifestyle which tells me one thing. This guy has no money. Then there was his daughter. I know where she went to Uni, which was Bath, a city I know very well as I lived there for a while but he wasn’t interested in that. I know all about her first love, her various boyfriends, and obviously know all about her wedding which was in July earlier this year. This wedding also gave him the opportunity to talk about his ex wife and what a spiteful bitch she is even though they’ve been split up for 20 years, (not that he was the one who left the country for 9 years and didn’t see his kids in all that time). I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to hear stories about how awful an ex was, don’t people realise that you shouldn’t be saying this on a first date?

I tried, I really did. I mentioned living in Oz for a while but he wasn’t interested. And while he was telling me all about his mate who’s a band promoter and the bands he promotes at festivals I told him about the guy I’d met in Ibiza who’s two sons are in a band that have just been signed to Warner Brothers, he wasn’t interested. I mentioned living in Gibraltar back in the early 80’s for a while but he wasn’t interested. And all the while he was non stop talking I had an over whelming desire to just blurt out.

“And then the house burned down.”

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When You’re Just Not Fluffy Enough.

I love men who say they like strong women. As long as it’s not just lip service that is, because it’s one thing saying it and another actually dating one and one thing I’ve found in dating dinosaurs is that not a lot of older guys actually like strong women. They say they do but it’s not usually someone they can see themselves with, usually because we have an opinion and are not afraid to be vocal about it which starts as a discussion but leads into an arguement which usually ends with “What the hell do you know? ”

I know quite a lot actually, which is another thing that winds men up. Older men usually (not all by any means ) like their women to be a bit, shall we say, fluffy. They like their women to be a bit subservient, no way can their women be cleverer than them, funnier than them or earn more money than them. They want them to have to rely on a man to get things done, things like booking tickets for holidays, anything to do with the car, house, complaints, they like to feel as though they’re in charge. Which was fine back in the day when women weren’t encouraged to do much apart from staying at home and looking after the kids, but times have changed thank god and although the guys know this, they’re actually having a hard time accepting it.

So, although a man is quite happy to let me organise our date (only because he hasn’t been in Manchester for the past 15 years) after that he’s likely to expect his date to be a bit fluffy which is sometimes where it can go a bit pear shaped unless he’s a guy who sees strong women as a replacement mother. Either way it won’t end well for me even though I do try. I try to be a good date and laugh in all the right places, ask questions even though most of the time I won’t get asked any, turn up all sparkly, well dressed even though it’s usually coffee, but unfortunately most of the time I know my date will be disappointed because I’m just not fluffy enough. I’m not someone who’s going to accept certain things that older men think is acceptable.

A fluffy woman will accept spending every Saturday night at his local social club where the only wine on offer is a disgusting chardonnay served warm from a keg, but then you might be asked did you want half a lager and lime?

A fluffy woman will listen while her date tells her about kicking off in the local supermarket because the price of baked beans has risen by two pence.

A fluffy woman will sit quietly while her date tells the old old jokes that comedians told back in the 70’s, and will dismiss watching programmes like Live at the Apollo and Comedy Central  as “new alternative comedy” which he hates.

A fluffy woman will also usually have to listen while he goes on about his ex and even though she’s now married to someone else he knows he can get her back tomorrow.

A fluffy woman knows that her man likes to be listened to, fussed over and feel that he is all she needs.

A fluffy woman knows her place. She dresses for her man and not for herself, so she’ll hardly ever be seen in trousers. She works part time, has no career aspirations and would be quite happy staying at home waiting for her King to come home after a hard day at the office. But fluffy women aren’t stupid. Some have probably dumbed themselves down as they realise that’s the only way of dealing with these dinosaurs  in order to get what she wants.

I’m not fluffy, I’m strong, opinionated and vocal and to be honest I’m probably getting worse as I get older and let’s face it, as we get older everyone just wants an easier life so I can’t really blame the guys for running a mile. I want an equal partnership without feeling as though I have to stroke someone’s ego when some woman has upset them by becoming Prime Minister/President. I don’t apologise for being who I am, what you see is what you get but there must be someone somewhere who can appreciate a full time goddess.

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Don’t listen to the rumours I’m not that bad, honest.

 

 

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Move Over Shirley Valentine

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll know that I’ve just had a week in Ibiza. Alone. Not front page news but you would think so by some of the reactions I get when people find out that I went on my own. “But what did you do on your own?” is the most popular question, and I always reply with “Had a good time”.  I understand why it’s a big deal for some people but faced with the choice of having a week off work and waking up on Monday morning with rain in Manchester or sunshine in Ibiza it’s not really a difficult choice to make so off I went.

I like meeting new people and luckily for me I’m a good judge of character (although we all make mistakes ) but as much as I’m friendly I don’t want to be someone’s babysitter on holiday and now and again I have to be brutal. Ibiza this time proved to be a mix of a particularly needy, nasty excuse of a man, ladies who although holidaying on their own wanted someone to sort their entertainment  itinerary  and a lovely guy who wasn’t very confident on his first time on his own.

On my first evening there I was in the hotel restaurant when I noticed “D” on his own a couple of tables away. He seemed friendly to the staff and as I was sat “enjoying” the Spanish white wine that was so dry I wouldn’t have even put it on my chips, he came over to my table. “I’m out of my comfort zone, would you care to join me?” D was a similar age to me but not really my type, although the older you get the more you realise you have to diversify on that one. So I joined him where I found out he was an ex copper, been married twice and didn’t speak to either of his exes and didn’t seem to have a good relationship with any of his grown up children. He then went on to tell me about a very unhappy childhood, although he was waiting for his parents to join him a few days later. He didn’t seem to have many friends and when questioned about why he left the police he was extremely vague.

Alarm bells were ringing.

Sat on the terrace I listened to various tales of what happened while he was a copper, some of them interesting to be fair, when he suddenly decided we were going out somewhere. “No. It’s late, I just got here today and I’m tired. In fact I’m going to call it a night.” He pulled his face but I was already making my way back inside. “See you tomorrow” he said. Oh how right he was. The next day was a beautiful sunny day so I made my way to the beach where I soon realised I’d forgotten my sun cream. After an hour or so I left my towel on the sunbed and made my way back to the hotel and as I was sat in the bar area D came over. “Hey, where have you been? I’ve been looking for you.” Christ no. “Down at the beach, going back there in a while”. “Do you want some company?” I looked at him. “No. Quite happy on my own thanks”. But I could tell he was annoyed. “See you later then. What time are you going for dinner tonight?” “Not really sure, don’t want to commit to a time”. (but I’ll bet you’re going to wait for me) And he did. No idea how long he’d been there hanging around reception but when I finally showed up and went to the bar he was there like a flash. ” Hey D, you already been in?” ” No, I was waiting for you.” As we went in to the restaurant together he lifted my hand up to his mouth and kissed it.

That’s when I knew he had totally the wrong idea.

Something had changed and instead of talking about himself he chose to mention my trip to the beach. “You’re quite selfish aren’t you? I realised that this afternoon when you said you didn’t want company.” I laughed. ” And you’re obviously quite needy aren’t you D?”  He then told me how he was so irresistible that his last girlfriend had been 26 yrs old, absolutely gorgeous, but he let her choose her career over him. Not to mention the 62 year old neighbour who he bought a fridge freezer from who was forever texting him wanting him in her bed. “She likes them young” I stifled a yawn.”Wow. So in demand aren’t you?” He then decided to tell me how he was good at two things. “If we were in a terrorist attack I would get you out alive, no one else could.” I’m sure I must have looked doubtful at that information but he carried on. “And I’m really good in bed.”  That was it, enough is enough. ” Do you know what D? You’re making me feel really uncomfortable and actually, I don’t have to sit here and listen to this.” I got up and left him sat there at the table. Next time I saw him I said “Hi” but he just blanked me and did that the rest of the week I was there but it just amused me. Luckily for me he wasn’t the only person I spoke to.

As always we have the stereotypes that we all see on holiday. Such as the chavs who kicked off when they were told to cover up after trying to come into the restaurant in swim wear.

The guy who wore the same t shirt every day to every meal.

The three women who thought they were in their own version of  Real Housewives of Anywhere.

And the group of women with loads of kids who sat them all on a table with grandma at mealtimes so that they could have some fun in a different part of the restaurant.

But every time I’ve been away on my own the people who tell me “Oh I could do that. Totally on my own with no kids, husband, anyone” are always usually the ones who have never stepped outside their postcode without someone holding their hand.

Fact.

 

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Don’t You Wish You Were Me?

It would seem that I’m not the only one having difficulty in finding someone (half decent) in my age group. Kirstie Alley was quoted as saying that at 64, she can’t find many guys her age that haven’t had the life sucked out of them and that’s probably one of the reasons that older women end up dating younger men and while I agree she has a point, it could certainly be one reason but it’s not the only one.

Maybe after giving it their all in a couple of long relationships/marriages they’ve no energy to start again even though they might say they want to. They might have a couple of grandchildren that keep them busy keeping them going in a routine of after school football, dance classes, or even (wait for it) have young children of their own. More over 50’s than you think have got young children and while I certainly expect an older man to have grandchildren, it’s always a surprise when a date tells me he has a young child and being the shallow creature that I am, I run for the hills. Because at this stage of my life I’d like to be someone’s priority. I want someone who can be spontaneous and be ready to go somewhere at last minute if we fancy a weekend away without worrying about childcare and if that’s selfish then I hold my hand up but that’s the way it is.

Maybe some guys want a woman to pursue him, to try and convince him that she is what he wants if only he opened his eyes, made an effort, see what he’s missing. No thanks, I did enough of that in my late teens/early twenties. I will certainly not be running after anyone now unless they’ve nicked my handbag. At this stage of the game a man (and women) should know what they want, without playing games.

Maybe it’s because most women acknowledge how fabulous we still are while men seem to define themselves by what they were back in the day. Yes I like 70’s/80’s music but it’s not the only music I listen to, but so many guys put on their dating profile how much they listen to the songs that influenced their youth. Or that they were this big noise back in the day (which is fine) but surely you’ve moved on from that. Posting very old photos on dating profiles as well as recent ones just tells me you want us all to see how great you used to look but what’s the point? That was then and this is now, keep up guys.

Maybe it’s because men (and women) have become lazy and can’t be bothered in making the effort it takes to date. I now only meet guys for coffee which is sort of like a “pre date” in which we’ll decide if we actually want to go on a date. The choice isn’t always mine, sometimes I’m not what a date expected either but an hour spent in Costa is better than a few hours over drinks, trying to make small talk while some guy shows me pics of his car/caravan/motorbike/grandchildren/allotment.  You think I’m joking?

Or maybe it’s because well, we’re just older. I’ve lost count of the dates who when I’ve raised my eyebrows at their tale of being married 3 times have replied ” I just like wedding cake alright?”  The old jokes on the lolly sticks that I have to listen to on most dates I go on. The times that a date has cancelled/not turned up/ vanished on line after being told that I live with a gay man. The married guys who message and say they’re not happy and they’re looking for someone who’s understanding. The dates who have daughters and will not think twice about taking a phone call in the middle of your date and having to rush off because  one of them needs tea bags. The widowers who are desperate to replace their wife. The guys who are bored with retirement but will only meet in the peak times they can use their free bus pass. The guys who just want a companion to go on holiday with. The guys who would be great in a pub quiz as they know everything about nothing, and the guys who say they’re looking for “anything.”

But not all guys are like this.

Some guys are witty, funny, interesting, looking for the same thing that I am, but they don’t want me or vice versa for whatever reason. That’s just the way it is in this dating game but I’ve not thrown the towel in yet.

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Anything For Nothing

As this week in work has been more chaotic than usual due to the 25% off clothing promotion, it makes me realise that anything that’s on offer, or even worse free, actually brings out the worst in people. I’ve worked in retail a long time, usually in ladies fashion and have only worked in a supermarket for the past 5 years but have watched as seemingly level headed people become selfish and demanding once they think they’re having something for nothing. You only have to see how people are when they see a stand set up in a supermarket with little samples on, depending on what’s on offer means that maybe they don’t have to feed the kids that night if they go back enough times for a freebie.

Working in retail over the years I’ve seen some things, not all people react in the same way to freebies, offers and promotions, but quite a few show the same behaviour. For some reason all logic and reason goes out of the window and some people seem to think they have a sense of entitlement, demanding that they have a particular item at a much lower price because there’s a speck of dust on it, a button missing, or even the wrong colour.

I’ve seen people clear a shelf of a sale item and then ask “Is there any more in the back?”

I’ve seen people make an actual complaint because there wasn’t a particular size they wanted on the sale rail and what was my name again?

I’ve had someone who, not being happy with the colour of a free belt, ask would I phone the Trafford centre on a Saturday afternoon where there was another store and ask them to check if they have the colour she wanted.

I’ve had a total stranger ask me if I would use my discount to help them buy their wife a new coat.

I’ve had someone complain that they’re not happy with the quality of a pair of free flip flops.

But it’s not only retail.  Years ago I had a part time job in a pub restaurant as well as a full time job (initially to pay for a holiday abroad with the kids) and it would seem that restaurants have the same problem. If you complain enough about the food/service/drinks then you are likely to get some money knocked off your bill with maybe a voucher for a free meal if you really kick off.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve ordered a meal  with a different sauce that you’re used to and decide you don’t like it.

Doesn’t matter if a rowdy table are abusive to the waiting staff and decide in their drunken state that actually they’re not paying the bill.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve told the waiter/waitress that you want your steak well done and remembered too late that you like it medium.

Doesn’t matter if your ex is in the same restaurant as you with his/her new partner.

Doesn’t matter that you don’t like the peas with your fish and chips.

It really doesn’t matter because apparently all these (and more) are valid reasons to kick off and dispute the amount you’ve been charged because people know if they complain loud enough, stamp their feet and throw a tantrum they will get what they want which is usually free drinks and a promise for a free meal any time they want. But that says more about that particular customer than the product on offer but it doesn’t change anything because sadly, it’s a sign of the times.

Now please can someone pass me the wine.

 

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Every Girl Loves A Grand Gesture.

Anyone watching The X Factor last Saturday night would have seen one of the contestants go down on bended knee to ask his girlfriend to marry him after they had just sang their hearts out in front of the judges. The couple have been together six whole months which is, for some reason, round about the time when some people  decide to make a life long commitment to each other, usually involving an engagement ring or moving in together. Six months is nothing in a relationship, especially when you’re talking about being together for ever. Six months means you probably don’t know the other person as well as you think you do, seeing as how you’ve both been on your best behaviour initially and showing off your best side. In six months it’s very unlikely you’ve had to face a crisis that will show you if your intended has character, if you can rely on them and that they’re in your corner.  In six months it’s more likely to be pure lust and being nice to each other, hearts and flowers, and planning your first holiday together. But it wasn’t the short time that this particular couple have been together that bothered me, it was the grand gesture.

Instead of making it a special occasion with maybe just the two of them, this guy made sure it was on national television in front of millions of people, and there’s a reason for that. Not only would it have been difficult for his girlfriend to refuse, but it’s a reason to be noticed, to be seen as romantic, committed and a thoroughly nice guy. Most grand gestures are for the rest of the world to see, not for the recipient. Grand gestures are when a guy sends flowers to where his partner works (usually as an apology) so that her work place can see how much he loves her and how happy they are. Or booking a romantic weekend away but making sure everyone knows on every social media platform. Grand gestures are when a relationship is failing and as a last ditch attempt he or she will book an expensive holiday for them both, buy a puppy or even book a wedding. Grand gestures are when there’s a marriage proposal in a crowded restaurant, on a busy beach, at a football match or anywhere where there is a lot of people to witness it. With so much pressure it’s unlikely that  the recipient will refuse, even though they might have doubts.

Some grand gestures are made to force a commitment, while others are a genuine way of trying to tell their partners how much they love them. Only the recipient would know which is which. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to the odd grand gesture, if it’s done for the right reasons it’s great.

Just hope that any future husband of mine  doesn’t think a trip to see the illuminations at Blackpool is the right place to propose.

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Mistaken Identity

A few days ago I had a new follower on twitter who said he was a pay pig, a term not everyone is familiar with but as I know of a couple of people who do have them, I was curious to find out more. I was aware that they buy gifts for their favourite girls from an Amazon wish list, pay money into a lucky girl’s bank account, and some girls actually make a living from this so what goes on?

A pay pig is also known as a cash slave, human ATM or a cash piggie  who looks for a mistress online, this is an extreme form of BDSM but as there is no sex required a lot of girls soon want their very own pay pig and you can see why. Pay pigs are submissive who like to be humiliated, manipulated, seduced and quite a few like to be blackmailed by a woman who is known as a Fin Dom, a financial dominatrix. Forget 50 shades with whips, chains and bondage, a guy getting “wallet raped” is as real as it gets, handing over your wife’s mobile phone number so you can be blackmailed and handing over your credit card and money at the same time is the ultimate female domination for some men. A woman can dictate how much he can spend a week on himself  (which is usually not a great deal) while keeping the rest for herself.

So how did this guy find me? It was a case of mistaken identity that’s how. Obviously he was scrolling through the goddess hashtag on twitter and as I use it on my twitter bio (First Dates Goddess) he thought I was someone else. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I thought my new place on the Quays was at the expense of someone’s family having to eat beans on toast every night.

Looks like I won’t be giving that paper round up just yet.

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Watching From The Sidelines.

Well what a week it’s been on Twitter with all the drama about the blogging community, how other bloggers are to each other, he said she said, and after reading a couple of interesting posts about it, here’s what I’ve noticed on good old Twitter.

You won’t know me. I don’t go to any bloggers conventions, or promote any brands. I’m not a beauty blogger, mummy blogger or travel blogger.  I don’t go out in restaurants and write a review about the food, or get invited to openings of the latest place to be seen in, or any event for that matter. I don’t have thousands of followers on my social platforms so no brand  would be interested in collaborating with me to promote anything. I started as a dating blogger and my blog has evolved into writing about my life really, (as well as dates) but as I’m an older blogger I probably don’t “do as well” as all the other younger bloggers, and that’s fine by me.

My blog got me a job writing for Metro for a year, an appearance on Channel 4 First Dates and a double page spread in an issue of Woman magazine earlier this year, featured on Rip Off Britain, a regular spot on a local TV station ( where I talk about stuff I don’t know much about) and hopefully a repeat performance on BBC Radio Manchester. As well as dating I’ll blog about what I’ve done in my life, emigrating to Australia, living in Gibraltar in my early twenties, and about working for Playboy. All boring stuff for younger bloggers to read, but again that’s fine by me as I like to people watch and Twitter is great for that. Which is why I can see exactly what’s been going on.

I myself am following a couple of bloggers who’ve started climbing higher with lots more followers and if I interact at all with them now, I’ll get a “like” instead of a reply. It must be hard trying to reply to lots of people who make a comment on something you’ve tweeted, but a lot of the time that isn’t the case, there might be myself and one or two others. I’ve followed  a few girls who promote a certain brand of clothing I like but have unfollowed when there has been zero response from them. I’ve had to unfollow a couple of girls who’ve had a TV appearance and not even had the decency to “like” a comment I’ve tweeted to them where at one time we were always chatting in DMs. It would seem that there’s nothing like having a load of followers to turn a girl’s head. I can’t speak about what goes on at events as I don’t go, but I would imagine it’s very competitive between everyone, hoping that certain brands will choose a particular blogger to work with.  But I will say this.

To all the dating bloggers in their 20’s/30’s there is only one Carrie Bradshaw and Bridget Jones. Don’t try to emulate them, be yourself.

To all the mummy bloggers out there, how the hell do you find the time to blog about what Archie/Felicity had for tea? Or which nappies to use/ clothes to buy/wipes to use. Maybe if Twitter had been around when my kids were small I wouldn’t have been giving them burnt Findus crispy pancakes with spaghetti hoops. Maybe.

To all  the food/drink reviewers, do you find that you have to starve yourselves all day? I’ll be honest, I’d get fed up with having to go out nine nights a week but I suppose it saves on food bills.

To all the bloggers in their thirties who write about embracing your age and you can’t wait until you’re in your 50’s as it’s going to be great, SHUT UP. You don’t have a clue what it’s like and yes, even you will be invisible.

To all the bloggers who have set themselves up as a self proclaimed inspiration for other women and say you can have it all. Having a part time job, 2.4 children, a husband and a home to look after does not make you a role model.

To all the beauty bloggers, I actually like you. I might not be up for trying out a lot of the products but now and again something will catch my eye that I think I must have. If Nivea are up for collaborating with a woman who has used their product for years I’m your woman.

I have found that there are cliques anywhere that there is a group of people, and Twitter is no exception but as someone who is watching from the sidelines whenever I see someone is getting too big for their boots I will give them a couple of chances then it’s delete and move on,  no exceptions, there is no excuse for bad manners. Funnily enough it seems to be when they hit the 6000 followers mark, when the diva behaviour seems to start. We all have egos as we’re bloggers, but let’s just remember ladies this is supposed to be fun.

Now someone pass me the wine.

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Too Cool For School

So a brand new themed bar/restaurant has opened in Manchester and judging by the pics and videos I’ve seen, it looks amazing. With lots going on which includes aerial dancers that will pour the champagne into your glass from above, cocktails being served with a burning £20 note, not to mention a catwalk, and with even the waiting staff doing some sort of a performance, the Menagerie is set to be the next place to be seen in. I can’t wait to see it but it would seem my invitation to the opening night didn’t get lost in the post, I’m just not enough of a Z lister to make the cut even though I can be as pretentious as the rest of the people who this place will undoubtedly attract.

It all started with going to the local youth club where most of the kids on the estate ended up going on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. A place that had a record player playing vinyl records of whatever was in the charts, with all the girls showing off their moves on the dance floor in the latest outfit bought by the money they’d earned babysitting. The boys of course were in groups either playing pool or darts, or stood around watching the girls, and if they liked one of them then maybe he’d buy her a soft drink and a packet of crisps out of the money he earned doing his paper round. From the youth club, it progressed to the under 18’s disco which was a whole different ball game. Now you’re meeting a lot of new people in a much bigger venue and there was a lot of competition between the girls to impress the lads who were allowed upstairs to drink alcohol from the bar. By now, the outfits you were buying weren’t from the local market but from decent shops in town, usually trying to buy something no one else had to stand out from the crowd. This is probably around the time you try to get served in pubs, or sit in a corner and send the lad who looks old enough to get served who ends up buying drinks for everyone, no one asked for ID in those days, more like the question “What’s your date of birth?”  with the drink of choice being half a cider and blackcurrant or half a lager and lime.

By the time you’re 17/18 is around the time when you decide if you’re happy to stay in your home town going out to the handful of bars/clubs available every week or maybe see what the nearest big city has to offer. There’s always been pretentious bars in Manchester and the boyfriend I had at the time took me to probably all of them, and I loved it so much that there was no turning back for me. Standing there, looking fab, being seen, pretending that you’re somebody while all the time people watching to see if you recognise anyone. Paying far too much for your drinks and noticing that not many people actually laugh or have fun as they’re too busy being fabulous dahling. But these aren’t the best nights.

The best nights are in the dives where they play the best music, drinks are cheap, and you can really let your hair down. Where you end up going home with a cigarette burn in your dress, lipstick smudged all over your face where you’ve been kissing random guys, and one shoe missing. Where your feet hurt because you’ve been dancing all night, holding a bottle of beer because they don’t do fancy cocktails. Where you’ve ended up chatting with people who you would never usually meet in the places you go to, who actually have a tale to tell. Where you’ve had such a good time if only you could remember it. These are the best nights.

But I am looking forward to seeing this new fabulous place, but I won’t be going at the weekend, I’m certainly not going to risk anyone thinking I’ve got lost on the way to bingo. No, I’ll be going on my day off, sometime in the afternoon when I won’t feel out of place, when it’s quieter and the fabulous attention seeking people aren’t there. Yes I won’t be seeing the theatrical performance put on at the weekends but I can still appreciate the surroundings and if anyone is there at the same time and wants to buy a fabulous former “it” girl a drink, I’ll have a white wine spritzer with soda thank you.

Cheers.

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It’s Not Me It’s You.

When you’ve been single for a while (ok, a long time) after a while you start to think that maybe, just maybe, it could be that the problem is you. Perhaps being too chatty on dates, or too quiet, wearing the wrong outfit, being too loud, not really giving someone a chance, not really listening, you can focus on any number of things but then I think back to some of the dates I’ve been on.

To the guys who can’t decide where to meet (most of them) let me tell you that a woman wants a man to take charge so it’s a bit of a turn off when I’m making all the arrangements for a first date.

To the guys who would rather I went to meet them at their local pub on a first date because they get a nosebleed if they go out of their comfort zone, let me tell you that already, you’re not making me feel that I’m worth the effort.

To the homophobic, ignorant, vile narrow minded guys who say they don’t understand how I could live with a gay man, and I probably won’t find anyone because of it, there are no words.

To the guys who say I would have been perfect if I was three inches taller/blonde hair/thinner/younger I say have you looked in a mirror lately because that moisturiser isn’t working.

To the guys who assume that there will be sex on the first date so you’ve booked a hotel room, you’ll never know how good it could have been.

To the guys who’ve apparently got in a relationship in the two days between organising a date with me and meeting up, I hope she’s got a couple of kids you didn’t know about.

To the guys who post the (only) picture on their profile that’s a few years old, please don’t. There’s not always a first aider around when we meet and I nearly die from shock when I see that you’ve lost all your hair and are three stone heavier.

To the guys who seem up for a laugh and then turn into a grumpy old man who complains about everything from the price of the parking to the price of a coffee on a date, let me tell you, it makes you unattractive.

To the guys who say they’re not really looking for someone then text/message every other minute asking how you are, what are you doing, when are you seeing them again, sort your head out.

To all the young guys who ask do I have a problem with the age gap? The answer is yes, please don’t be offended but I’ve probably got tights older than you.

To all the guys who’ve shown me pics and videos on our date of their now deceased partner, or new car, golf clubs, and even grandkids, it was probably my yawning that put you off.

And to the guy who forgot my name on a date on national television. Well, we all know the answer to that one.

So after careful consideration and realising that not every one is on the same page, I’ve come to a conclusion.

It’s not me, it’s you.

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Deluded.

Being the hardened, cynical serial dater that I am, I like to think that I can spot a scammer a mile off, but apparently not everyone can read between the lines. This past week has seen quite a few on one particular dating site that I use and they all use the same template, in that they are a General in the United States Army, have pets, and state that religion is very important to them. One photo of course (which won’t be them) and a beautifully written profile in perfect English that goes out of the window when you actually exchange messages. Like I say, I can spot ’em a mile off but it does seem that women of a certain age get sucked in after I heard a story this week that involved a woman buying a holiday for the two of them (thinking he was going to pay) and only hearing alarm bells when he said he needed a short term loan. A holiday with a guy she’d never met, who lives in America but works in Dubai, who apparently earned mega bucks, what was she thinking? He never turned up for the holiday by the way.

These deluded women are also the type who write to guys on death row. Women who should know better who’ve been married (maybe more than once) had relationships, and maybe feel that it gets harder to find someone when you get older, thinking that their best years are behind them, maybe they’ve lost a lot of confidence and so any guy who pays them a bit of attention is latched on to. I get it, I really do, but hopefully common sense would kick in at some point instead of deluding themselves into thinking that they  have now found their soulmate in a man who’s murdered someone, living thousands of miles away with a cat in hell’s chance of getting out of prison alive.

Oh the romance.

And that’s exactly it. Getting involved with someone on death row means he’ll never cheat, you know exactly where he is at all times and it’s all hearts and flowers  as there’s going to be a limited time on this relationship. It’s all high drama, saving like mad to get over to Texas to see the guy you’ve sent a thousand letters to, had a thousand phone conversations with, and who will always be innocent of the heinous crime that he’s actually on death row for. “They don’t know my Jimmy like I do. He’d never hurt a fly”. But he did. In fact he did a lot more than that but let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good Mills&Boon romance because that will spoil everything. He’s everything you’ve ever wanted because it’s not real. Running around with a placard protesting his innocence will not change anything, will not make anyone revoke his death sentence, will not make the families of the victims forgive and forget, but you know this. Because really, you don’t want him to be found innocent and become a free man, the attraction for these women is the fact it’s not a real relationship, it’s going nowhere and they can be a death row widow and pretend that they have lost the love of their life.

Deluded much.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong, I should be writing to “One eared Frank” in Strangeways asking him where he stashed the bottles of vodka he nicked from a supermarket (565th offence) and promising him I’ll take him for a breakfast at McDonalds when he gets out. But I’ll be refusing to go on the precinct with him, a girl has to have some standards.

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What I Did On My Holidays

Not a lot, but that was supposed to be the whole point, so it did mean that I could indulge in one of my favourite things to do, which is people watching. In a large, busy hotel I had plenty to watch and sad to say, a few of the usual stereotypes were in evidence as they are in any all inclusive hotel.

You’re always going to get the mums and dads who, having been high-fived by one of the animation team, now think that they’re best mates and won’t leave Jose/Giuseppe/Lucy alone, even pushing their own kids out of the way to get a photo taken with their new bestie. Alternatively you always get that one kid who goes and follows the team everywhere, signing up for everything and not making friends with any of the other kids as they’re too busy stalking.

I watched parents with questionable parenting skills in the restaurant, allowing a child to watch a dvd on a portable player, or playing computer games, while everyone on the table is having dinner, and watched as mum or dad even fed the child instead of making the 4/5/6 year old feed themselves. God forbid there’s any interaction and learning  table manners.

I watched as a large group of Germans dragged a number of sunbeds and every available parasol to make their own version of Ocean Beach, playing loud music on their own sound system which was competing with the thousand decibels being played out by the hotel sound system, while parading around with a bottle of vodka bought in the local supermarket. In an all inclusive hotel.

I watched as a young dad gave his two year old son a glass full of orange juice, and as he left him for a moment to get his own drink, the little boy dropped the glass spilling the drink everywhere. I watched as a quick thinking cleaner working nearby, reached out and grabbed the boy by the hood of his beach towel stopping him from slipping and falling on the glass. And I watched as the dad turned around just at that moment and glared at the cleaner, instead of thanking her for saving his son from having a nasty accident.

I watched too many young girls and guys thinking they were super hot, probably thinking they should be on Love Island, parading around, but with the personality of a cobweb.

I watched as impatient people waited for the chains to be unlocked on the sunbeds in the morning. which would only happen when the cleaners had finished sweeping and cleaning around the pool so it was a nicer environment to sunbathe in. One morning, someone figured out how to get the sunbeds off with the chains still on and I’m ashamed to say it was a British person who then proceeded to take the sunbeds off while the cleaners begged him to wait for five minutes while they finished their job.

I’ve watched while a man has wanted me and my daughter to leave a table outside as he insisted he have it as he had a baby in a pram even though he was with a party of six or seven of them and our table could only seat four (at a push).

But I didn’t see everything.

On the last morning of the holiday, I went and reserved our sunbeds by the pool as we weren’t getting picked up until about 6 o’clock. We probably spent more time than we should having breakfast and packing our stuff ready to go home, so when we finally made it to the sunbeds our towels were gone and two people were using the beds. On a mission to find the towels I saw a manager walking around and asked her where they were likely to be. She sent me to the bar by the pool, who subsequently sent me to reception, and they sent me to the lifeguard who didn’t understand a word I said. So I didn’t see who swiped the towels, and I never got them back, so needless to say they’re probably getting rented out by the hotel to people who’ve had the same thing happen to them.

What can I say, I might  have been distracted by one of the fitties parading around in his trunks at the time it happened.

Maybe.

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As The Mother Of A Gay Son.

While the pieces are being put together as to why Omar Mateen decided to go to Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida and open fire on innocent people, let’s just take a minute and remind ourselves that although we live in the 21st century, being LBGT is not as tolerated as we all like to think it is. While it might not be against the law anymore to be gay, it doesn’t mean that society likes it, while a lot of people tolerate and even embrace a good night out spinning around to Kylie, the same amount (if not more) will actively voice their concern about “deviant behaviour”. As if.

When my son was born 30 years ago, it didn’t cross my mind for one second that he might be gay, I was just concerned that everything was working ok, all the usual stuff that new mums worry about, but it never ever crosses your mind that your child might be “different”. If they’re going to be different, it will be because they are smarter than all the rest of the class, become a brain surgeon, top class athlete, hell, even Prime Minister, but gay? That was never in the game plan. But mothers always know. Mothers notice little things that make you start to wonder, and then the worry starts, not that you weren’t always worrying about your child getting run over, falling off a cliff, being abducted by aliens, but this is a different worry. Because you know that your child will have a harder journey than most now, and whenever they step out of the door once they’re older, are they going to come home being beaten up after falling foul of a group of ignorant, homophobic bigots who’ve probably grown up in a household of hatred towards anyone different. It sickens me to know that there are people out there willing to give my beautiful boy a “good kicking” or even worse, when they don’t even know him. Not that anyone is flaunting it. Gay men are usually reluctant to be seen showing public displays of affection because of not being sure of people’s reaction, they know that for some people it is seen as a step too far to witness two men holding hands in public, never mind kissing, how sad is that? We haven’t come as far as people like to think we have, any LGBT person will tell you that.

As an older woman who is doing online dating, I’ve found that the main reason I’m single, (apart from the fact I’m too picky) is that a lot of men my age are homophobic. While some might pay lip service and say they don’t actually mind gay men, it’s usually because they don’t know any. That view sometimes changes when I say I live with a gay man, and have lots of gay friends, all of a sudden they decide they’re not really comfortable with that. And that’s fine. I need to know pretty early on what their views are as there is no way I can tolerate anyone who uses the words “queer”, “faggot”, “scum” and any number of derogatory words  to describe not only my friends but my flesh and blood. Absolute deal breaker.

So here we are. Fifty men shot dead for being gay and over fifty more injured, every mother’s nightmare as this is what every mother fears for her gay son, some idiot seeking retribution against something they don’t understand, or even want to. My heart goes out to all those mothers who have lost their beautiful boy for being “different”.

Some things won’t change.

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Memoirs Of A Playboy Bunny Part Two.

Right, so where were we? Having been given three costumes to put in my locker it was time to learn the job, and as I was to be working on both reception and the restaurant I would be learning how to do the famous “bunny dip.” This would involve carrying a tray of drinks with one hand, above shoulder level, and once reaching the table leaning  backwards but facing away from the table to pick each drink up and somehow twist around to place it on the table without spilling it all over someone. This took time to learn but it’s not something you ever feel really comfortable with doing as you were always thinking that today would be the day it all went wrong. Another hazard of the job was the bunny tail. Held on with press studs I sometimes lost my tail when I was trying to squeeze between tables, I’d go one way and my tail would go another, but there was always someone willing to put it back on for me as you can imagine.

The restaurant I worked in attracted a lot of business men who were members of the club, they would bring clients there hoping to impress (and it never failed) as the food was great and would usually leave a generous tip when they paid for their meal but as it was going to be shared with every single person that worked there, as well as being taxed on, it was highly unlikely you would ever see much of it. The same thing happened in every bar and in the casino, so no matter if you were given a tip everyone had to hand them in.Wearing the costume I was wearing meant there was really no place to put them so it was a case of handing them in, and hoping that it was a good month so that everyone else working there had also done well with tips.

I always worked on reception on Saturday nights, the night when a lot of the members would bring their wives as there was always a good act on in the main entertainment room, then a lot of people would make their way downstairs to the casino for a flutter, a good night out apparently. The guys who were members of the club usually treated the girls with respect, some were professional gamblers so to be honest, you were just part of the furniture to them as they were there to try and make money, it was always the visitors/guests who were the problem who sometimes tried to over step the mark but a word in their ear by a manager would usually calm things down. The thing with Saturday nights though, it was the women who were brought in as guests who were the problem. As their husband/partner/boyfriend signed them in you could see them really eyeing you up, but you had to bite your tongue because it wasn’t your place to tell them that don’t worry, you’re really not interested in someone who spends all their money (and probably yours) gambling.

I rarely worked in the casino, I helped out a few times serving drinks but I find it weird that there’s never any windows or clocks, a foolproof way to make gamblers lose track of time so that they always try one more time to get their money back. But I did see a guy lose an awful lot of money once which resulted in him losing his restaurant in Chinatown. At the time I worked there it was the early 80’s, so the casino seemed to attract a lot of young  guys who had come over from the Arab states, who were here for an education but had more money than they knew what to do with.  They all had the flash cars but as none of were allowed to accept a lift home from anyone (instant dismissal) it was always the bus for me. The club was situated on Canal Street Manchester which is now the infamous gay village, but at that time there were only a couple of gay bars, which are still there, so it wasn’t too far from the bus station to get the bus home when I finished at 4am. The annoying bit was waiting for two hours before the first bus of the day arrived at 6am, you can imagine the drunks and undesirables hanging around at that time.

Another time, another place, another life.

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Don’t Try This At Home

After watching the programme “Party Pensioners” on channel 5 a couple of days ago, it would seem that there is a (hopefully small) group of people who are refusing to grow old quietly. Women who will do anything to get noticed, to get attention, who are prepared to lose their dignity and don’t seem to realise how ridiculous they look. I’m all for not blending into the background just because you get older, when it seems that you are on the periphery of people’s vision but they don’t actually see you anymore as you have nothing to offer. No young hot body, no mind blowing ideas, no fashion sense, no idea of what’s going on in the world, no use to anyone, but it would seem that some people are prepared to go above and beyond under the guise of “eccentric, outrageous, wild and wacky”.

As a society we are living longer so the definition of middle aged has changed. Older women are still working, have their own money and are hopefully enjoying life as much as they were 30 years previously, just in a different way. Kids have left home which gives you the time to pursue new/old hobbies and anyone with half a brain is still interested in what’s going on around them, which means you’re open to new ideas, finding your way around new technology, and can probably hold your own in a political debate (maybe).  Just because the shops only cater for the young fashionistas doesn’t mean you’re not interested in fashion anymore, it just makes it more difficult to find what you like as you’re more likely to want to cover up rather than reveal. The mirror might show an older version of you but we all know the truth, inside you’re on the dance floor of that dodgy club when you were 21, on holiday in Benidorm with the girls and choosing which guy you were going to go home with that night.

Everybody fears getting older because of how society sees older people. Instead of seeing it as a chance to try new things, make new friends and maybe broadening our horizons with travelling, we worry that no one will value our opinion anymore, no one listens to what we have to say which is ironic. We have lived through a lot of  life experiences which means that chances are we can empathise with some of what life will throw at you. Been there done that comes to mind. But then again what do we know?

What most people want to do though is just enjoy life. Everyone’s idea of enjoying life is different, how everyone copes with getting older is different, which brings me back to the women who choose a different path than most. Andy Warhol once said that everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame and he’s not wrong. With so many reality shows, documentary programmes etc, it would seem that for most people they can have their 15 minutes but because of the fame hungry culture we’re in some people want more. I’m not against people applying for these shows (how can I, I was on one myself) it’s the situation they put themselves in. It’s one thing being shown on a date, fully clothed in a nice restaurant, quite another to be shown legs akimbo  and writhing around the floor thinking you’re giving Beyonce a run for her money. Or maybe giving burlesque dancing a try when you’re over 80, flashing your knickers at everyone at the end of the show, all being shown on tv of course. There are no hard and fast rules but please ladies, where is your dignity? Surely no one wants to see anyone over 60 making an utter fool of themselves in order for them to feel as though they’re no longer invisible, (or anonymous as one of the “ladies” said). Everyone likes to think they’ll grow old disgracefully but hopefully people will draw the line at attention seeking, ridiculous behaviour.

Different strokes for different folks but one thing I do know. I could clear a room in 10 seconds if I took my clothes off. Fact.

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That’s Not My Name

Everybody has a name. It was given to you by your parents when you were born, and sometimes at school your name might be changed to a nickname but legally your name is what it says on your birth certificate, unless as a woman you change it to your husband’s surname  when you get married. Believe it or not it’s not compulsory to do this, it’s not the law but most women do it as “it’s easier”, not sure how but it does seem to be expected.

After the initial excitement of writing out your new name wears off, a new bride might start to feel a bit strange. It’s a bit like having a new identity but you’re not sure what this new one’s about and the weird thing is that after a while you miss having your old name mainly because that name is associated with everything you’ve ever done. That name is what every person you ever met knew you as, friends from school, first boyfriend, first job, first holiday with the girls etc. That name defined who you were and it’s sometimes really difficult to get used to being someone else, although a new married name can sometimes bring it’s own firsts such as a house, new baby, new set of friends and a new life.

One of the first things some women want to do though if she gets divorced is to revert straight back to her maiden name. It’s a way of reclaiming back her identity and moving on from a failed marriage and it is actually a straightforward process, but some women hesitate if they have children, only because they won’t have the same surname as their kids. I thought long and hard about this one and decided to still use my married name but the thing is this. I’ve now had my married name longer than I had my maiden name but I’ve always been the same person. With my married name I feel that I’ve done so much more even though I’ve been divorced for years, but that name now is who I am and I will never change it even if Prince Charming’s grandad comes along to sweep me off my feet. Luckily for me I still have friends who knew me long ago before any us were married. A different life, a different name, and different men and whenever I meet any of them we’re all right back there, we remember who we used to be when we had a maiden name,  young women who were fearless, confident, optimistic, giddy, thinking that we’ll never get old as we were far too cool for that. Over 35 years later and we all still think we’re the same now as we were then. Changing your name (or the passage of time) shouldn’t change who you are.

Life’s far too short for that.

 

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Walking With Dinosaurs.

I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been dating dinosaurs. While some can exceed expectations, on the whole they are creatures of habit and like to stick to a routine no matter how many times they insist that they are “spontaneous, adventurous, not ready for pipe and slippers yet”. I beg to differ. While it’s true that as we age we still think that we’re 18, for some of these guys I think it might be 15 as sometimes it feels like we’re still playing the game, 60 year old men still keeping their options open even though they’re having a good time with you. No matter how many different men try to convince you that they’re looking for their last first date they will be off in a flash if a woman under 45 years old bats an eyelash in their direction.  As I have found that the same problems keep cropping up no matter what it says on someone’s profile, here’s an idea of what it’s like for a woman over 50 to be dating.

Where to meet.

As I live quite close to the centre of Manchester it’s easy for me to ask if someone is happy to meet up there and this is when the fun starts. I have rarely had a guy take control as hardly any of them ever venture into the city as “there’s no point”. Most of the guys live not too far from Manchester but as they’ve usually never been there in the last few years they aren’t really confident about where to meet. Could I recommend anywhere that’s not too noisy, not too expensive and not too far from the tram/bus stop? Because Manchester is so busy isn’t it? A thriving, busy, metropolis of people that my date will feel out of place in. So that puts paid to the bit on their profile that says “Young at heart.” but for me that tells me already he’s not for me.

Dating Apps.

I would love to be on some of these dating apps like Bumble, Happn, Voicecandy but what’s the point when I know that there will be virtually no men my age on any of them, so let’s stick to what we know shall we guys, like messaging on Plenty of Fish until someone just disappears or maybe just wants a pen friend, then there’s OK Cupid where you get messages from a load of men who live in America/Ireland/Tymbuktu. So that puts paid to the bit on their profile that says “Willing to try something new.”

Trendy dressers.

I always get a bit nervous when someone describes themselves as a trendy dresser, as it usually means that because they get their socks from Topman it now makes them trendy. Nothing wrong with that until they turn up in a black polo neck top and black smart trousers looking like they still work as a doorman at some nightclub that got knocked down years ago, along with the obligatory gold chain and pinky ring. Or the striped shirt that’s skin tight tucked into black trousers, or even a fleece with jeans and a gelled up hairstyle that would be the envy of any 25 year old male. We’re all older, hopefully we’ve developed our own style but still dressing like we did 30 years ago, well, I’ll never get used to that.

Unsolicited Bus Timetable Pics

I don’t get the pictures of a man’s anatomy, I get a picture of the bus timetable and the question “Which bus/tram will you be on?” He usually has an appointment at his local pub at some point so he needs to plan accordingly. In fact this dinosaur usually wants me to meet him at his usual watering hole so he doesn’t have to move out of his habitat. Which puts paid to the bit on his profile that says “Will relocate for the right woman.”

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This guy is a bit of  an action man with pics of him running/kayaking/zip-wiring/ climbing mountains so it’s highly likely that he doesn’t have much time for you. Most weekends he’s likely to be cycling, fell walking and maybe camping which puts paid to the bit on his profile that says “Loves to cuddle up on the sofa and watch TV.”

Peter Pan.

Any guy who still looks half decent will be in a last ditch attempt to try and attract the 35 year old that he still thinks he can get. So while you might be getting on great he’s still holding out for the woman who looks and dresses a damn sight better than you and will be at least 20 years younger. He will never settle so don’t waste your time although eventually he’ll probably go and see what Thailand has to offer, and let’s face it, you can’t compete with that.

Egos.

Some men just want to spend the whole date talking about themselves, they won’t want to hear about you and will tell you all about the interesting things they’ve done in their life. At some point they might ask you “So, have you done anything interesting?” You will definitely never see them again when you tell them, especially when it’s a lot more interesting than anything they’ve ever done. What they really want you to say is “Yes, went out twice today. Once to put the rubbish out, and once to the corner shop.”

There are many types of guys and while this is older guys I’m referring to the same might apply to the younger ones. Some things don’t change.

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A Red Letter Week

Not going to lie I’ve had a really good week and even though I was working over the bank holiday weekend it didn’t really dampen the good mood I’ve been in. Twitter (of course) was at the start of it when after a bit of banter with the lovely author Amanda Prowse she then cast her eyes over a couple of blog posts and let me know that she liked it, a brilliant start to Monday morning as far as I was concerned.

Tuesday I knew that the new edition of Woman magazine which was about to hit the shelves, had a two page feature of yours truly in it so I was really excited about that. As well as a photo there was a bit of a dating diary to give an idea of what it’s really like to be dating over 50. A lot of people at work were really nice about it and pointed out that it was a lovely photo that made me look a lot better than I usually look. I should hope so, it took the talented lady who did my hair and make up absolutely ages to produce the end result and I loved it. Having said that she usually does the make up for some of the young “Coronation Street” stars when it’s a red carpet event and I certainly didn’t look as good as them but it’s only make up, not magic, or maybe it’s the 30 years plus between us?  Let’s just say that on that particular day, Sally Rowe made me look and feel a million dollars.

Wednesday I caught up with Richard my housemate after we both got home late that night and he admitted that he’s really fallen for his new boyfriend who he’s been seeing for a couple of weeks. I know I know, only a couple of weeks but his fella has been staying over at weekend and as I have a prime ringside seat I have watched this romance from day one. I’ve watched my housemate get giddy when he comes off the phone from talking with this guy, showing me (the same) pics of him and asking “Is he fit?” He is Richard, he is but I like the fact that this guy makes you so happy, makes you put your pinny on and cook meals from scratch for him, makes you wait impatiently for weekend so that you can spend time together and plan trips away/holidays/when to tell respective families that you are now an item. I like the fact that your new boyfriend makes you feel special, makes you catch your breath, your heart flutter, makes you nervous and all the other things that people feel when they’re in love. I love that you have found this and I’m just the tiniest bit envious.

As much as I am dating I am not looking for “the one”. The men in my age group have been married a couple of times and I think it’s safe to say that (hopefully) we’re all realistic enough to know that there is more than one person in this world who would make us happy. To project all our hopes and dreams onto one person is too much pressure, by now, especially at my age, we should have maybe realised that if we can find someone who we can relate to, laugh with, make plans with and all the rest we are lucky. That doesn’t mean I’ll lower my standards by any means, I don’t want to sit in every night and “watch a film and cuddle on the sofa” or hold hands walking to the corner shop while he gets his beer and fags, but the pool I’m fishing in is a lot smaller than anyone else’s, I do know that.

What I do know is that it’s highly unlikely I will find someone who sets my soul on fire and I’ve accepted that. I don’t like it, but I’ve accepted it. So when I see the two love birds cast knowing glances at each other, a caress from one to the other as they brush past each other, a private joke, an impromptu romantic night away in a hotel, as much as I love seeing them together, it’s a reminder of days gone by for me.

My life’s not over by any means but I’m pretty sure the romance is.

Good job I’ve got a good memory.

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A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

One of the downsides of getting older is that sometimes you can lose your confidence a bit. You’re not as cocky as you were in your twenties, and while you’ve probably learned a couple of hard lessons along the way, sometimes you still might not trust your own judgement where men are concerned, especially if you don’t like being alone.

Older single women over 50 are likely to be divorced or widowed, and as some might not like being alone, maybe they are feeling vulnerable, overlooked for younger, prettier, funnier counterparts, and this makes these women a prime target for a certain predator. Enter stage right a well dressed, attentive, attractive older gentleman who will at the very least try to empty your bank account. These men are really good at what they do make no mistake. They prey on a woman’s vulnerability and before long they’ve made themselves indispensable while making sure that they are behaving like the perfect gentleman. An older woman has usually got some money from a divorce settlement/being widowed and might even have her house paid off after years of hard work. If kids are still living at home you can bet this guy will do his best to try to make them leave.

You’ll find that you don’t really get to drive your car anymore as your new friend is offering to run you anywhere you’d like to go, and let’s face it, it’s nice having a chauffeur except he seems to like using your car for his own convenience. Holidays get mentioned and before long you’ve booked a cruise with your new friend but he seems to be taking his time in paying you back the money you’ve just spent which includes the upgrade that he insisted on. He might even ask for a loan to help him out until he’s sorted out the problem of moving his money around, all the while acting like he has some. The real danger though is when property becomes involved and lots of women get convinced it would be a really good idea to have the guy’s name on the deeds, “just in case”.

And let’s not forget the online dating scammers. These will bombard you with all the things you want to hear until before long you’re sending money, which runs into thousands. Older women who should know better believing every single thing they’re being told because they’re lonely. Older women signing away their home, their kid’s inheritance, to a shallow, scheming man who doesn’t care he’s going to leave you heartbroken, penniless, and won’t care that you will probably never trust another person ever again.

I personally haven’t come across one yet. I do know though of at least five people this has happened to and I’m waiting for the day when it might be my turn. As well as my middle name being “Cynical” I can’t wait to tell them that I don’t even own a set of pans for god’s sake.

Watch `em run a mile.

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Shoot Me Now.

It’s been a busy week on dating sites as I’m sure everyone using sites/apps will agree. A combination of a long Easter weekend and the start of lighter evenings made Sunday evening one of the busiest I’ve had in a while. In fact, I was having difficulty trying to keep conversations going with so many guys but everyone knows not to expect a reply straight away, as everyone is doing the same thing. This in itself isn’t a problem, you can have conversations and some will naturally fizzle out, but it’s when you’re getting on with someone and just about to swap numbers and then you never hear from them again, or the “Hopefully chat tomorrow?” and you know you probably won’t hear from them. It’s not “ghosting” as that would mean an actual relationship, this is just guys keeping their options open.

Dating sites are meant to be just that, but it’s very tricky to actually secure one as it would seem that as much as someone says they would like to meet up, it never quite happens. Probably because most guys (can only speak from a woman’s point of view here, maybe women do the same, I don’t know) are looking for a prettier, funnier, younger version of the woman that they’ve just spent an hour chatting with but trust me, you won’t find her mate. I’ve lost count of the number of men who get back in touch with me weeks/months later trying to pick up where they left off but by that time I’ve lost interest.

I did receive a message though from someone who said he would have been interested but the fact I wear makeup puts him off. Not sure what he wanted me to do about that, same as a guy who got in touch ages ago and said the same thing, but about my hair colour, he would rather it was blonde. What can I say? This is what you get guys, take it or leave it but I won’t be changing anything soon, but if I did it would be because I wanted to do it for myself. Everyone has a tick list and I’ve learned I’ve had to compromise on some things but that’s partly because of the age group I’m dating, but if I was getting on with someone who only ticked most and not all of the boxes I would certainly give them a chance and I would like to think vice versa. If guys on dating sites are supposed to be looking for someone (not “the one” I hate that phrase) maybe try actually going on a date sometime instead of looking for the perfect person you will never find.

A word of warning though to women of a certain age. When a guy says he has a “wicked sense of humour” what he really means is that he wants someone to listen to the same old boring jokes you’ve heard a million times before, I don’t know about you, I just haven’t the patience.

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Queen For A Day.

Usually on a day off during the week I do a lot of running around, maybe meeting up with a friend for lunch, or doing a bit for a local TV station or doing a bit of shopping. This week though was a bit different.This week I got to do a photo shoot for a women’s magazine and for a day I felt like a celebrity.

A lot of older women are dating and using online dating sites, but maybe not many are blogging about it so this is what the feature is going to be about (if they use it) so I was really excited to be having pictures taken to be used with the feature. But not only a photographer, a stylist and make up artist as well were involved so I was hoping to get some tips as it’s too easy to get in a rut with clothes and make up when you get older. We’d arranged to meet at one of the bars in the Northern Quarter of Manchester and although I was the first to arrive I didn’t have to wait long before the other three ladies turned up. As they all wheeled their cases in full of makeup, clothes and equipment I did start to panic a bit, thinking “This can’t be for me.”  I only do a bit of writing, nothing special, they must think I do a lot more than I actually do, but now it was too late. The stylist brought out a few outfits and I went and tried them on while the others were setting up. Then it was time for hair and makeup and I must admit I loved the end result, with no sign of any black eyeliner to be seen.

Having photos taken believe it or not, is hard work. There’s a lot of direction, “Can you just move here, turn your face there, yep that’s it.” Hard work but I loved it. I liked this version of myself which is different to how I usually look, wearing clothes I would never have considered buying, (but now I will) and for a couple of hours I felt like a celeb. The weird thing was though while all this was going on people were coming into the bar for lunch and it was obvious that some of them were looking and thinking “But who is it?” Who is it indeed. Just a normal, older woman who is  trying to tell others who are in their 50’s/60’s that life doesn’t end when you get to our age, we can probably still teach the younger ones a thing or two, because we’ve all learned our lessons to get here.

When the shoot was over I spent the rest of the day with my two kids, (a rare occurrence of all three of us together) so any signs of any diva behaviour from me would soon be shot down by those two.

So that was this week’s day off, one that will be hard to beat unless it involves Tom Hardy of course.

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Plastic Fantastic.

As women get older there is a certain pressure to maybe enhance their appearance by having a bit of cosmetic surgery, nothing major, just little procedures to keep the ladies looking fresh, and as we’re all (hopefully) going to be living longer a lot more people are probably going to be having some form of plastic surgery eventually. Gone are the days where the only thing on offer was a full face lift to get rid of lines, eye bags and droopy jowls and these days there are all sorts of  things you can have done that are in comparison, minor procedures.

Society doesn’t treat older women very well, they’re often being ignored in the workplace and overlooked for promotion in favour of a younger woman, their husbands/partners leave them for younger women and for some reason they are seen as having nothing to contribute now that their looks have faded regardless of years and years of life experience. It’s hard for any woman to start losing their looks so it’s understandable why so many ladies have fillers, lips done, liposuction, botox and boob jobs, as this must do wonders for a woman’s self confidence but sometimes you can start too soon.

Remember when Kerry Katona had all that surgery done when she was only 27/28?  The problem with having all that work done so young is that unfortunately it doesn’t last forever, so at some point you will probably have to have it all done again, maybe more than once. And let’s face it, surely it’s supposed to be an older woman’s thing to have done when her face/body is showing the ravages of time. A young woman isn’t going to need an eye-lift, or fillers to get rid of lines on her face, or lips done because they have thinned with age due to lack of collagen, leave that to the women (and men) who have tried their hardest to keep skin looking younger by using the expensive creams that advertisers assure us will take ten years off us. If that was the case these miracle creams would be a lot more expensive than they actually are and no one would have a plastic surgeon on speed dial. Living longer means a lot more people want to look good with age, and who can blame them? I just wish I was that brave but I’m not.

I’m certainly not against plastic surgery I just think it’s not for me. I’ve lived with this body for a long time and while it’s not a perfect one, in any shape or form, it’s the only one I’ve got. I know what are my best features and I know what are my worst so I try to make the most of what I’ve got while hoping that gravity has a couple of years off in the process. Years ago when I lived in Australia I had a new, small, flesh coloured thing appear on my face so I went to the doctor’s with it (high risk of skin cancer living in Oz) and was referred to a plastic surgeon to have it removed after I’d had a biopsy. On entering the office the doctor pointed to a brown mole on my cheek, “Is it that mole?” he asked, “As that’s the only one I can see.” My hand flew to my cheek as I said “God no! That’s part of my face!”  He couldn’t see the one I meant as it was quite small, but for me it was all I could see as it wasn’t what I was used to seeing. The mole he was referring to is one I’ve always had, one I don’t see, although I imagine it might be something people notice straight away and when he offered to remove it I declined. And this is the thing. If I won the lottery I’m pretty certain I still wouldn’t have anything “done” as my fear is that having a couple of procedures would only highlight how old and decrepit my body actually is so where do I start?  I’m used to how I look and I accept (doesn’t mean I like it) getting older, in fact the only thing I really miss is how slim I used to be, which if I put my mind to I could change. Add the fact that having a general anesthetic at anytime is a risk it would only be a matter of time before I need life saving surgery and that will be the time that my body lets me down, so here I am, listening to some of my friends talking me through things they’ve had done and while part of me is envious, I know I’d never do it.

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The Best And Worst Job In The World

There’s no hand book with instructions when you take on the most important job that you will ever have. Being a mother is many things, teaching another human being (almost) everything that they will need to know is daunting, exhausting, time consuming, and you will never be rich. In return though you will know love on a whole different level which you never thought possible.

So, let’s start with the fact that you’ll never have a lie-in ever again (unless they sleep out somewhere) and you’ll get to know the tv night schedules when you’re up pacing the floor with a baby that won’t sleep. On the plus side a baby will stay where it’s put until of course it starts walking and then you have to have eyes  in the back of your head which is when the fun starts. A toddler likes to form an attachment to one of the popular characters on children programmes which usually means a soft toy which has to go EVERYWHERE so god help you if it gets lost. On the plus side this is when Christmas gets more interesting as it’s the time to start family traditions in your house.

Once a child starts school you might feel that you’ve managed to get some time back for yourself but you’ll spend most of it worrying about what’s happening in the classroom. Does he/she like their teacher? Does the teacher like them? Are they making friends with the other kids/getting bullied/causing trouble?  And this doesn’t only apply to primary school, god no, you’ll feel like that throughout their whole time in education. Why haven’t they been picked for the school netball/football team when you know damn well that they are the best player that the school’s ever had.Why have they been overlooked for the main part in the latest drama production again when you know that you only need a talent agent to see them and they’ll be off to stage school before you know it. All these things and lots of others might make you lose a little bit of sleep at night but the main lack of sleep is one word.

Teenagers.

I would hate to be a teenager again, all that self hate, insecurities, hormones, doing stupid things, and of course thinking that you know everything. All of a sudden mums are embarrassing, know nothing, have no dress sense and please walk 10 steps behind when we are out anywhere. This can be a really stressful time as boundaries are pushed making you think that maybe there was a mix up at the hospital as this wilful, sullen, cocky, secretive  child can’t possibly be yours. You worry constantly about girlfriends/boyfriends, where they are, who they are with, what they are doing and what you can do about it. Showing an interest is seen as being nosy, when the fact is a mother not showing any interest is one who doesn’t care. Trying to keep a grip on what’s going on is hard, as half the time you won’t have a clue who their friends are never mind where they’re going. But this will pass. Yes you’ve probably gone grey, but if you can weather the storm the person on the other side is the beautiful, charming, kind, sensitive, generous adult that you can now relate to. But since the day they were born you will have asked yourself, “Am I doing this right?”

As for single mums I salute you. It’s difficult enough with two parents but when you have to be both good cop, bad cop the job becomes a lot harder, but here we all are. Another Mothers Day where we are surrounded by love, count your blessings ladies, how lucky are we?

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Age Gap Love.

Any woman over a certain age who is online dating will definitely receive messages from guys in their 20’s at some point. While it might seem flattering I for one would have a problem dating someone who could have been at school with my kids, but maybe that’s just me. Imagine not being able to talk about all the things that happened in the 70’s as your current admirer wasn’t even born when you were either down at the disco with your skin tight lycra pants on  and  a sequin boob tube dancing around to Victor Sylvester, or wearing a black bin bag, held together by safety pins and doing the pogo dance to the Sex Pistols. Imagine dating someone who wasn’t born when Charles married Diana in the 80’s, when Duran Duran ruled the charts and you were embracing all the glamour of 80’s fashion thanks to the likes of Dynasty and Dallas.

“Try me” they all say, “I prefer older ladies.” But that’s the thing. I don’t want to be reminded every day of how old I am when a song comes on the radio and it reminds me of a long hot summer in 1976 and you remind me that you weren’t born then. Or when we go shopping and I laugh at how the latest fashion is really the 80’s reincarnated with a nod to rara skirts and a lurex thread running through a shirt, and you say yet again that you weren’t born then. At least we can talk about Madonna though, she’s been around for ever (or so it seems) and everyone has a favourite Madge single.

There is another type of man who prefers older ladies though. The type who preys on single older women who go on holiday in places like Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt. Then there’s the guys in Gambia who insist that they are leaders of a tribe/a prince/someone revered, even though they’re working as a pool boy in the hotel that these women are staying at. But some of these women love it. They’ve come out of bad marriages, older, looks have faded and they crave attention. Enter stage left a young, good looking guy who apparently is besotted with his latest love. Nothing to do with the fact that she has money, a house paid off, lonely, desperate, needing some attention to prove that she’s still attractive. and will do anything to keep him. Maybe after the holiday is over and she’s back home in grey drab England she might get a phone call asking when is she going over to see her new lover again as he’s missing her badly (he can’t visit her without a visa don’t forget) but in the meantime while he and his brothers are moving to bigger premises with the family business that they have, could she transfer some money over to help cover the rent? Of course, she says, even when it’s a second, third and all the rest of the times she is asked for money. This is the man who she loves, will do anything for, even though she admits herself she doesn’t know what he sees in her. Her family will try to make her see sense, her children will be concerned when she has to remortgage the house to help finance her new boyfriend and his family, and we’ll all get to read all about the wedding and the subsequent divorce when she finds out he only wanted her for a British visa. But I understand why these ladies do it.

Once you reach a certain age you feel as though  you’re invisible. Women go on holiday and fall for unsuitable men but guys deal with it in a different way.They go to Thailand and spend money on young girls, but the difference is in Thailand everyone knows what the deal is, money changes hands and (hopefully) everyone is happy.

As for me I’m still filling out my passport forms.

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The Fame Game

Everyone seems to want to be famous these days, but with no talent to offer. It’s common practice for some people who want to be in the public eye to “buy” followers on twitter and instagram to seem more popular than they actually are, which seems to be encouraged by the rise in reality tv  programmes which some people try to use as a platform for bigger and better things. Most shows are to be viewed as a bit of fun, not to be taken seriously, but for a small minority this can be seen as making a career out of…well, nothing. The same can be said of the way some young girls make a bee line for footballers/tv personalities  in a club, hoping to sell a “kiss and tell” which in turn might lead to a photo shoot, leading to a magazine article, leading to a stint on Love Island/Ex on the Beach but then what?  Some people want their 2 minutes in the sun stretched out to 2 weeks in Benidorm but having youth and beauty is not actual talent which is why there are so many “wannabees” around hoping to be the next big thing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a thrill to be recognised when you’ve appeared on tv  but this is what some people crave, all the time. The constant recognition when they’re out and about and maybe they’ve actually reminded people themselves, jogging a memory and then claim that they can’t believe people still recognise them when they only appeared once on a programme. And that’s the thing. Appearing once on a tv programme does not, in any shape or form, mean that you are a reality tv star. Thousands of people apply for these shows so you’ve got to be something special to stand out to make a career out of it, which hopefully would mean some sort of talent. Or maybe some people want to be infamous. A throwaway comment gets picked up by the press and even though it’s negative they’re going to run with this and try to latch a career on to it, and like the saying goes, even bad publicity is better than none for these people who really want it.

At the moment I am closely watching a one trick pony who has recently appeared on a well known programme, they’ve acquired an agent and seem to be taking great pleasure in winding people up to get a reaction. As this person has no talent whatsoever I’m curious to see which lengths they will go to, as up to now we’ve had an alleged homophobic attack, and a kiss and tell that was probably fabricated, and this is all in the name of becoming famous, with the ultimate aim being to appear  on Big Brother.

As for me, I really need people to stop phoning me asking me to model the latest hearing aid, as I’m far too busy contacting the press about my night of passion with the local lollipop man.

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In A Parallel Universe.

People like to think they have people sussed, usually according to age and lifestyle, personally I would like to read that stone where the law is set as to where you should be in various stages of life, but especially when you get to my age. Age brings life experience and sometimes things happen that change everything, so I have learned not to plan too far in advance while trying to steer things in the right direction. Without going into too much detail I’m living a life that I never expected, but I also appreciate that other women my age would have sleepless nights if they found themselves in my position, whereas I’m just trying to roll with the punches.

I know that if certain things hadn’t happened I would have been living a different life, not necessarily a better one, just a different one.

Maybe I would be married to the same man for 30 years, living in the same house we bought when we had two small children. Hopefully the mortgage was paid off and we were enjoying the high life after working hard for years, possibly cashing in a couple of pensions to pay for our many cruises.

Maybe we would be with the same circle of friends that we met on a regular basis, with trips to London, Barcelona, and a holiday at someone’s villa in Spain, while not forgetting the many weddings, christenings and family parties that we were all invited to.

Maybe I’m semi-retired, still working at the same job at the same place that I’ve worked at for over 25 years, but because I only do a couple of days a week , it means I can help out at the local charity shop and can join a few committees making my community a safer/better place to live.

Maybe I’m still married but unhappy, as it’s difficult to leave when you’ve built a life together over a number of years. Some people are reluctant to give up the trappings of what they consider to be a successful life

But I don’t live that life. I work full time, don’t own my own home and live with my gay housemate in a vibrant city where there’s lots going on. I work in a place that has enabled me to meet some interesting people, and I know if I was living my alternative life we wouldn’t have met. I do things now (when I have the time) that would not have been possible at one time and have to say I’m loving it, take that as you will and if someone had told me 5 years ago that this is where I’d be I would never have believed it.

But I will say this.

As a middle aged woman we are generally ignored and expected to exist rather than live no matter which life we lead, we’re on everyone’s peripheral vision but actually not seen which means we would make exceptional spies, private detectives or shoplifters. We have no opinion worth listening to, know nothing, and are generally treated as a bit of a nuisance but obviously we know better. In the grand scheme of things I’d rather be me, right here, right now and while most (usually younger) people think older people have no valid input, not only have we got the t-shirt but it’s probably been wrapped around someone’s neck but think on. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be me some day and who said older women should be (not even) seen and not heard? Sod that.

 

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Fabulous Woman Seeks Pot of Gold.

As part of starting the new year as I mean to go on, this past week has found me messaging guys first instead of waiting for them to message me on the dating sites I use. I’ve done this before and it usually ends in tears…mine. Let’s be honest we’re all shallow creatures, we all look at the profile pictures and then decide if we can be bothered to read the two lines that have laughingly been presented as a profile. and I’m sure it’s the same for guys, but I personally am attracted to anyone who has taken the time and trouble to write a funny profile (as long as it’s not one they’ve nicked from me) so I was on a mission.

A couple of guys I contacted responded and it was going really well with one of them and just as we were about to  decide on when/where to meet up he disappeared. Hopefully not in a puff of smoke, no, I’m hoping it was a bloody cyclone because there is nothing more infuriating than someone deleting their profile just as you’re getting interested. That and someone texting you when you’re actually on your way to meet a date to tell you that they’ve changed their mind. I did text him once to ask what was going on but no reply so I left it. But I think I know why he did it. This particular guy lives quite close to where I used to live and maybe he’s married and it’s a bit too close to home. Maybe. I didn’t recognise him but the odds are I’d know his wife/ex but perhaps he just genuinely changed his mind but whatever reason deleting a profile is a bit extreme.

So, back on the treadmill and after a few messages back and forth with what I thought seemed a nice guy we swapped numbers and I got a text asking me a couple of questions that I knew we’d covered, so I went to look at our conversation on the site before I replied and lo and behold, his profile had gone. I text back, “Your profile seems to have been deleted.Any ideas?” “Oh yeah, I dropped my phone and lost loads of stuff but when am I coming round for tea?”  Hmm…don’t buy that one but I replied.”You’re not coming round I’m afraid but I’ll be happy to meet you for a drink.”  And guess what, no reply.

On twitter there are loads of dating experts, and while they offer good advice there’s only you yourself can say yay or nay to what a guy has to offer.  Sometimes you have to be pro-active in this dating game so while it’s always nice to get messages they ‘re sometimes not from any one suitable. One guy who has messaged has actually put on his profile in response to the question “Do you have any children?” with the reply “Prefer not to say.”  Yep that’s sounding like a keeper to me. So the search goes on…at this rate it might be easier to find the pair of jeans that got swiped off the washing line in 1976.

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So I Say Thank You For The Music.

The death of David Bowie had the world reeling with shock, more so because he was one of those people who you thought would be around for ever, producing/making music for all us mortals to enjoy and with each new album he gained a legion of new fans. Everyone has a favourite Bowie song, a song that brings back memories of a particular time in your life (good or bad) and that’s the beauty of music.

A particular song can have you remembering where you were, who you were with, and probably what you were wearing. Most of us discover which particular genre of music we like when we are teenagers, and if you are a true  teenage rebel you want to make damn sure that it’s something that your parents don’t like. The music of course goes hand in hand with whoever is singing it, so teenage fantasies are then projected on to that person. You know what it’s like, if the object of your affection likes cheese on toast, wears black underwear and likes to go to the ballet, guess what? That’s exactly what you adopt convincing yourself that you’re closer to them, and if only you could meet them they would know straight away that you’re soulmates (jailbait more like) but every teenager feels the same. Every song is written for you as you can identify with the lyrics, you’ll spend good money on all the merchandise when you go to see them perform but at the end of the day, it’s always about the music. So when someone who’s given us some great music over the decades dies, you’re not necessarily grieving for the person but acknowledging the impact that their music had on your life.

Back in the day I shared a bedroom with my sister who is a year younger than me and both of us had posters on the wall of our respective teenage crush, mine was Rod Stewart and my sister was mad about Donny Osmond. Two opposite ends of the spectrum and many arguements about who was better but I have to say it was usually Donny who somehow managed to get a drawing pin stuck in the middle of his face, (can’t think how) which spoiled his baby face looks…just saying.

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Memoirs Of A Playboy Bunny. Part One.

A long time ago I had an interview for Playboy. Just to be an average bunny girl and not one of the Playmates you understand as these are two entirely different things. So how did this come about? Well, I’ll tell you.

I’d just returned to England after having worked a year in Spain so I went along to the local job centre where back in the day, every job was displayed on a card. I picked one up that said “Receptionist wanted at club in Manchester.” and took it to one of the women who were sat behind various desks waiting to help. She dialled the number after looking me up and down and was obviously being asked questions about my appearance from the person on the other end of the phone. When she put the phone down she told me it was for Playboy in Manchester and that I was to take a swimsuit with me to wear at the interview. “Sorry I didn’t realise. Thanks for phoning I’ll go and have another look around”. I said as I got up to leave. The woman stopped me.”Go to the interview, you’ve nothing to lose.”…so I did.

Wearing a swimming costume while being interviewed is a bit surreal but the manager must have liked me as he sent me into the lion’s den, the dressing rooms where all the bunnies got ready to do their shift. Two “bunny mothers” were there weighing a few other girls who had also come for an interview but these “mothers” were brutal. One stunning looking girl was told to come back when she’d lost a stone so I was dreading stepping onto those scales as I knew they were going to whizz round at least three times. And I was right.This has always been a problem for me, in fact at one time I never used to have scales in the house as young girls become a slave to them and who’s to say that every 5ft 6″ girl should weigh the same? The women looked confused. I was a size 12, gorgeous, and obviously looked a lot slimmer than what the scales said.

“Try this costume on” said one as she helped me into it.”Does that feel comfortable?” I said it wasn’t too bad.”It’s too big then, try this.” My god. Those costumes gave you a figure that you would never have (unless you’re Barbie) it was so tight I could hardly breathe. It’s corseted with whale bone and the trick is to lean forward and sort of sit your boobs on top while stuffing a load of padding in the slits of the costume under your boobs. It was cut really high to the hip bone so there was no way you could wear any underwear but the effect was amazing. A tail was added on the back white collar with bow tie, white cuffs with cufflinks, and of course the bunny ears. You also had to wear two pairs of tights, one tan then a black pair over the top of those so that your legs looked toned, with court shoes. We were given three costumes and believe it or not none of mine were black. We were also given a new name which was on a rosette worn on the hip (that took some getting used to though, I think everyone thought I was deaf) and I had permanent bruises on my hips where the costume was digging in but I have to say I felt a million dollars.

Once I started the job I was to learn that it usually took an hour at least to get ready, and I also had to learn how to do the notorious “bunny dip” but that’s another story.

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Long Distance Love.

One of the things unique to older dating is the difficulty of a long distance relationship, as there are usually a few reasons why this won’t work out so whenever I get a message from someone who lives too far away, I say right from the start there is no point pursuing it. This never seems to put the guys off though, even when I say I don’t drive  they always say that they wouldn’t mind doing all the travelling, there are trains etc, but I know that eventually it will all end in tears because none of us, in the end, will compromise.

When you’re young it’s not such a big deal to move to another town or city for whatever reason, University, career, or a love interest as it’s easier to make a new life when you’ve got the confidence, plus, you’ve always got the safety net of being able to go back “home” if it doesn’t work out. Fast forward 30 years and it’s entirely different, as a lot of obstacles have appeared that weren’t there before such as leaving children and possibly grandchildren behind, old friends, a job, a house,and a life that has slowly been built up over the years so it’s understandable that for most women, when it comes to it, it’s hard to make that leap into a new life where you’ve moved to another town/city to be with a new partner so it’s easier not to.

For most older men the reasons are different. A man will quite happily embrace the idea of a woman coming to spend the odd weekend with him and while he’s making noises about how he’d relocate and up sticks to live with you he would probably prefer it if you bought a house on the next street, so that way his life can carry on in the same routine and he wouldn’t have to get rid of the pet budgie. Old dogs, new tricks. At the end of the day, the longer you’re on your own the harder it is to compromise on some things, but a move to somewhere new is probably not going to happen for a lot of older daters. I must admit though I would probably make an exception for someone who lived in another country, preferably hot, like Spain, where I could visit whenever possible and then when it came to moving I could claim that the language barrier was a problem (even though he’s English) but think how many holidays I could have…

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Ghosts of Christmas Past.

With Christmas practically upon us I have to say that for me (and thousands of others) it’s not the same now that the kids have grown up, and yet it doesn’t seem two minutes since we were writing out the Christmas lists for Father Christmas. Two minutes, also a lifetime ago, but I remember it well.

Although it’s a busy stressful time of year it’s also enjoyable trying to juggle work with attending nativity plays, carol singing concerts, school Christmas fayres and spending a great deal of time trying to track down the most popular toy of the year. As parents we all want to make sure that our children have the best possible Christmas that we can give them, so of course we want to get them the main present on the wanted list which will always be the one thing that you can’t get for love or money.( My Little Pony Princess Bride springs to mind) and this quest will consume all your spare time trying to track it down. Trust me, after opening all the thousands of presents they get the disappointment of not getting their little heart’s desire will not even register, but unfortunately you will have cultivated a few grey hairs and worry lines in the process.

Back in the day you couldn’t just walk into a supermarket and pick up a fancy dress costume for the nativity, you either had to make your own or hope that something could be fashioned out of the school’s dressing-up box. Waiting to hear which child had which part would either mean having to find some green felt as they’d been given the part of a blade of grass, or a white sheet for a star with some silver tinsel wrapped around the head, and everyone knows the old trick of a tea towel with a crown on top for one of the three wise men. It didn’t matter if any of the kids forgot their lines,(which usually happens when they see mum and dad) it was seeing all of them singing and getting into the whole nativity thing, but you can bet that there will always be that group of mothers who are sat there, seething because their little cherub hasn’t got a main part.

Christmas eve when you have young children is a lovely lovely day. The Snowman is always shown on Christmas eve and then you have the rituals of leaving a mince pie and a drink for Father Christmas with a couple of carrots for the reindeer although looking back there must have been a hell of a fight between them if every house only left one or two carrots between eight of them. What it shouldn’t involve is having to go outside to retrieve a bike that’s hidden in the garden shed, slipping on the back step that has iced over when the temperature dropped, and lying there convinced you’ve broken your leg while realising that no one can see or hear you, and no, there’s going to be no magic sleigh transporting you to A&E.

We all know what happens on Christmas day, watching the presents being ripped open, looking at the sheer joy on little kid’s faces, so what if you’re all on beans on toast all of January? Christmas is for children but as you get older you realise it’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it that matters so with that in mind, Merry Christmas.

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It’s Just a Little Crush.

I’ve not had a date in a while, although I’ve been having lots of conversations with wannabe Mr Wright’s I’ve not been on an actual date. Not to worry, I don’t think I’m missing much seeing as how they don’t even seem to remember my name anyway (Goddess to you) but what was even more worrying is the fact that I haven’t had a crush to lust after for a long long time, until recently.

I’d forgotten that feeling, catching sight of someone who you absolutely focus all your fantasies on, where you catch your breath and mentally run a mirror check over yourself hoping that your hair/make up and clothes are spot on. Maybe move a little closer to where he is but trying not to make it obvious even though you’ve probably gone beetroot and your heart is racing, and you’re concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other so you don’t trip up. He probably won’t even notice you but that’s ok, he’ll be paying attention to the woman who he’s with but if you’re lucky you might catch his eye and get a smile from him, and that’s enough.

Like I said, it’s been a while.

Where I work there are a lot of customers in and out every day, but a while ago I noticed a gorgeous guy in his late thirties who was just my type, tall dark and handsome. I say my type but in fact there has only been one guy who fits that description in any relationship that I’ve ever  had so what does that say? This man is gorgeous, and sometimes (if he’s lucky) I might spot where he is in the store and ask him does he need any help to find anything? And while Mother Nature has played that cruel trick by making us feel younger than we actually are, I don’t think he’d appreciate a woman who’s old enough to be his mother drooling all over him. But then again, he’ll never know.

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Domestic Abuse Isn’t Always Physical.

As Oscar Pistorious has at last been found guilty of murdering Reeva Steenkamp it brings up the issue of domestic violence but believe it or not, a lot of the time, an abusive partner doesn’t even have to lay a finger on you. Coercive control is very soon to be classed as an actual offence which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison, so let’s see how many misogynistic guys get away with the vile way they treat their girlfriends/wives/partners who they say they love.

When you meet someone and you find that you’ve got things in common, you’re getting on, loving the whole thing of spending time with them and all the rest of it, you’re not really looking for things to spoil it. Also your new guy isn’t going to show his true colours straight away as you’d probably run for the hills. No, you’ll get little glimpses at first but nothing really major, nothing to get you thinking that something is wrong, but it will definitely be something that you feel uncomfortable with but you’ll make excuses for him because this guy really LIKES you. In fact, he likes you that much he wants to spend all his spare time with you, and while he can’t tell you not to go out with your friends, he starts to make it plain that he doesn’t like it. He’s also not keen on any of your friends to be honest, and might even try to cause some sort of arguement between you and them, making it easier to isolate you from them. Will he have any female friends himself? Probably not.

Once your relationship is established you will see some changes in the way he talks to you, mainly negative remarks, about your job, friends, family, dress sense, how you have your hair, make up, and always adding that no one else will want you if, god forbid, he ever left you. If you’ve actually moved in together you’re in big trouble. He now has you exactly where he wants you but the problem is, you become confused because although you know what he’s doing is wrong, there is actually no violence. There are threats of withdrawing love, affection, and of him actually leaving you if you don’t comply to what he wants but it’s difficult to think you might actually be in an abusive relationship with no actual violence involved.

Don’t be fooled.

If he’s jealous of every male friend you have and wants you to cut all ties with them, you’re in an abusive relationship.

If you’re thinking of how to break the news to him that there’s a girl’s night out planned and knowing he’ll kick off, you’re in an abusive relationship.

If he’s slagging off all his ex-girlfriends/partners  and doesn’t have a nice word to say about any of them, you’re in an abusive relationship.

If you’re having to account how you’re spending your money (when you’re working) you’re in an abusive relationship.

If you’re having to explain to family members that once again you and your lovely partner won’t be attending the wedding/christening/funeral you’re in an abusive relationship.

If he’s constantly bringing you down with negative comments about yourself, you’re in an abusive relationship.

If you’ve started to walk on eggshells around him and watching what you say so he doesn’t get angry, you’re in an abusive relationship.

I could go on but you get the picture.

If your partner is saying that he loves you while making you feel worthless, he doesn’t even like you for god’s sake. The very things that attracted him in the first place will be the things that he’ll want you to change.

This doesn’t apply to most men thankfully, just a few who don’t actually like women, and hopefully you’ll never have the misfortune to meet one of them but if in doubt, wise words from Caitlin Moran.

“Never love someone whom you think you need to mend, or makes you feel like you should be mended. There are boys out there who look for shining girls, they will stand next to you and say quiet things in your ear that only you can hear, and that will slowly drain the joy out of your heart.”

 

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A Cautionary Tale.

As Christmas fast approaches, anyone with children will know that not only will you have your own social diary to organise but at some point you’ll have to attend nativity plays, Christmas carol concerts and the obligatory fundraiser known as the school Christmas Fayre. The latter is more of a social event for all the mums and dads really, as the ones I went to when my own kids were at primary school sold alcohol and were usually held in the evening. The dads were to be found sat as close to the bar as possible, while the mums were sat in the main hall trading any gossip they had and keeping an eye on the kids at the same time.

One particular Christmas 3 or 4 of us ladies thought we’d live a little and have a plastic cup of warm white wine from the “bar.”  (we’re talking a school fayre kiddos, we’re not at The Alchemist) I’m not quite sure if we had more than two but I doubt it as the event finished around 9 0’clock and it was hardly pinot grigio but on the walk home I started to feel really unwell. I was staggering all over the place, dropping my keys in the snow and  falling over which the kids found funny at first until I eventually got in to the house. Once I was inside I knew I was in big trouble as by now I could hardly walk and as the kids put me to bed I was throwing up all over the place. Lying down I couldn’t lift my head up and it did cross my mind that I might actually choke on my own vomit but there was nothing I could do. I could see the headline.”Woman found clutching a tea towel that she’d won on the tombola” but would they name the school? At the time I thought maybe I’d had a dodgy wine but a couple of days later I found out that all the other ladies had also been really ill.

So this is what I think happened.

I think maybe someone on the committee had made some home made wine (it was probably Sheila, she can’t bear to be left out) and thought what a good idea it would be to sell it over the bar as a good way of making money for the school. No one saw the bottle it came out of, never mind the label on it and let’s face it, we’re not going to ask which vineyard that particular grape came from when it’s been poured into a plastic cup. So just a word of warning ladies when you’re attending this year’s school fundraiser. While you don’t expect a top of the range wine at these social school events you should hope that at the very least you don’t get alcoholic poisoning from them but having said that I’m pretty sure it’s not a usual occurrence. If in doubt, offer to buy a drink for the person who’s been flirting with your partner all evening. Just saying.

 

 

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Got Good Friends? Hang on to Them.

It’s been a month since my episode was seen on First Dates, and like any major event in life you will find that people’s reaction vary, good or bad, and this is what I found happened in the days following that programme.

Obviously some people at work had been told about it (I was on the opening credits for a while so it was no big secret) and I am lucky to have some great friends at work who were going to watch it, even though they’ve  never actually watched an episode before which meant a lot to me. On the actual night I drank far too much wine as I was really nervous about how Twitter would react, as we all know it can be cruel, and having been advised not to read any comments I kept off it. It is also really weird to see yourself on TV, and anyone who read my blog about when I actually went on my date will know I wasn’t happy with my appearance, but that was totally my fault. So, what happened after?

About a week after the episode had been shown  people started to come up to me and ask “Were you on First Dates?” and then stand and stare expectantly which threw me a bit as I wasn’t sure what to do, but everyone was really nice and more or less said the same things every time. Luckily Twitter had been kind (relief!) and friends at work were really lovely about it but it was also quite amusing to see how some people reacted. One or two who you never have a conversation with, suddenly became your best mate for two minutes as they wanted to know everything about what happens on the show (as if I’d tell them) before they went telling their mates. Some people who never said anything publicly when we were all in conversation talking about it, came and asked questions when I was on my own, one or two waited to see how everyone else reacted before saying anything, and you’ll always get the ones who’d rather choke on their own vomit before they’ll say anything at all, which is fine.

Unfortunately you will also get one or two long standing friends who while saying they support you, when it came down to it actually didn’t, which although was a bit upsetting at the time, came as no surprise.

I did of course have the support of people who were there from the absolute start, the ones who were cheering from the sidelines from the very first audition, the ones who responded to frantic phone calls from me when I was getting nervous and having second thoughts, the ones who met me at a minute’s notice to lend me a valuable item of clothing, and of course a couple of work mates who were there all the way who were so supportive and for that I’ll always be grateful.

People don’t always respond or react in the way you expected, but some will exceed all expectations and make you realise that actually, you have some really good friends, make sure you hang on to them.

 

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You’ve got to be Kidding.

A strange thing happened today. While on a break at work I received a text from an unknown number.”Hello?” So I replied back with the same question and waited patiently for a reply, while wondering who would have my number. “Are you Jacqui?” was the next question.By now I’d realised that this was probably a guy that I’ve been on a date with sometime but the question was who? I had to try and narrow it down without giving too much away but this guy was playing a game of his own. ” I take it you’re going through your phone and deleting people. I am Jacqui and we’ve probably been on a date.” He was quick to reply. ” I have an old message from you only just showing up on my phone!” When he sent me the message I remembered who he was.

Back in June I was having a decent conversation with this guy over a few evenings, and after deciding we were going to meet up, he sent me his number and asked me to text him the next day with the details of where and when we were meeting. But he did warn me. ” I’m in Anglesey and the signal might be really bad but try it anyway.” So the next day I sent a message with details he needed to know and I didn’t hear back but I did notice he was on the dating site we’d been chatting on later that evening, so I sent a message on that too. Nothing. So I left it, but I did wonder what he was playing at as every night he seemed to be online but it was always later on, after 11 pm. “Oh I remember sending you that message, no way have you just got that now! I think I sent you one on the dating site too, but obviously the week or so in Anglesey totally stuffed up your phone as you don’t seem to have received that one either.”  But this guy was having fun. ” Sorry about this but I still don’t know who you are can you remind me? ” So I reminded him of a couple of conversations and lo and behold he remembered me. After asking was I still single, maybe we could chat again and the most recent message about an hour ago mentioned that maybe we could meet up? Enough was enough.”It’s ok. You can delete my number.”

As excuses go this is probably the best/worst I’ve ever had. He was probably playing a couple of us and it’s not worked out with whoever, but you’re going to have to do better than that “D”. Don’t insult my intelligence by assuming that I’m going to believe that outrageous lie, but worse than that, you’ve thought I would be flattered about being Plan B. As if.

Always be the star, never the understudy.

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Always Listen to Your Instinct.

After reading a story that someone tweeted on twitter about how one time a guy made her feel uncomfortable when travelling on a train by herself by making it look like he knew her (only later did she find out he’s a rapist/con artist/on the sex offenders list) reminded me of a time when a similar thing happened to me on holiday.

Years ago I went to Southern Spain on holiday on my own after a friend of mine let me down at the very last minute, and on the transfer from the airport to the hotel some anorak kept interrupting the rep in his speech about the history of the place. As he was doing so he was looking around at all the people on the coach and I made the fatal mistake of giving him eye contact. When the coach arrived at our hotel a few of us threw our cases into our rooms and made our way to the hotel bar but before long we had  ventured out, as Andy the anorak said he knew where the best bars were nearby. So far so good. After a couple of drinks I said I was making my way back so Andy said he was also ready to call it a night and that’s when I found out a bit more about him. At 40 years old he was working as a carpet fitter and living in a caravan on the drive of his parent’s bungalow which was actually in the next town from where I lived, which explained the same accent we both had. He’d never been married and only ever had one long term girlfriend so as you can imagine, most people would probably find him a bit harmless but I wasn’t convinced.

The next morning he was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs (but where he could also see the lift) and said maybe we should go and have breakfast together. He’d caught me unawares, what could I say? I was obviously going into the restaurant and it would seem childish to refuse because after all he seemed ok. After breakfast I made my excuses and went to get changed to spend the day by the pool and Andy said he was probably going to go and do a bit of sightseeing. I breathed a sigh of relief. Luckily for me  there seemed to be quite a few single people who were also in this hotel and I was looking forward to making a few new friends.

Finding my way to where the pool was I stopped to see if there were any spare sunbeds,when I heard someone call my name.”Jacqui!! Over here, I’ve got us our sunbeds!” You’ve got to be joking. But there he was, in his speedos  standing and waving at me to go over. This was August, the pool was packed, no way was there a spare sunbed anywhere so what did I do? I went over. And I really wish I hadn’t because I had willingly put myself in to what became an awkward situation. He threw his Walkman cassette player over onto my sunbed.”Help yourself. Boney M’s greatest hits.” So there we were, and I suddenly realised  that to anyone watching we seemed to be a couple, we both had the same accent, both had arrived the night before, so I just lay back and completely ignored him until he went to the bar. ” Going to the bar, having a ciggie so back in 5 ok?” I looked at him. No offer from him to get me a drink so I just nodded. As soon as he’d gone to the bar I sat up and spoke to the young couple next to us.”Help me.We’re not together, I don’t know him.” They looked shocked.”But we thought you were together.We saw you at breakfast do you really not know him?” He made sure he was back in two minutes rather than five but by now I was talking with the lovely couple so I got up and moved around to sit on the ground  next to Bev’s sunbed away from Andy.

Long story short this guy could have ruined my holiday. He followed me everywhere but because of him I also made a lot of friends as everyone was sympathetic to my situation. I tried to make a complaint about him to the rep but as he hadn’t tried to touch me no-one could actually do anything. Guys (and me) told him to F**k Off but he didn’t listen and this was the worrying thing. I finally got rid of him when a few of us went to a Spanish nightclub and they wouldn’t let him in. There was a very heated exchange  outside and he was, shall we say, persuaded not to come in. The next day he’d found a new object of affection and this person (a guy) went to great lengths to avoid him such as jumping out of windows.

But I’m annoyed at myself for letting all that happen. Because we’re basically nice polite people we accept behaviour that we shouldn’t in order not to make a scene, especially if a person seems nice and polite themselves. You don’t want to be seen as the bad guy by questioning someone’s motives when to all intents and purposes the world sees them as one of the good guys. But I will say this, your instinct will tell you every time. If something doesn’t feel right, your gut instinct will tell you and no matter how much pressure you feel under, always always listen to it. It’s there for a reason.  Does anyone else wonder if Andy is still living in that caravan??

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Shhh….You’re Showing Your Age.

I don’t usually follow mummy bloggers as they’re not really relevant to my life, seeing as I don’t need to know where I can buy a headband for Lucy that matches Freddie’s socks for a party, or which cotton buds are the best to use, but now and again I do read a couple of the mummy blogs who had their children when they were over 30 and unfortunately, a couple of them lately seem to have a similar theme. Talking about not being afraid of getting older, we should be looking forward to it as we’re all so fabulous and we’ll always be this way, so what if society doesn’t like older people  we shall make them notice us, blah blah bloody blah.

You haven’t got a clue as to what it’s really like to be a woman in her 50’s.

I used to be you. I used to be a younger vibrant woman with 2.4 kids living with a husband who goes out to work while I had a part time job, but back then I wasn’t blogging about what to give your kids for breakfast as there was no internet and I’m not actually sure that I would have been to be honest. A woman in her 30’s is a lot more confident than a woman in her 20’s and it’s easy to adopt the mindset of really not caring too much about getting older and as much as I love that idea the truth is a bit different.

Getting older doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a slow insidious process that you don’t really notice until one day you look in the mirror and see your mother looking back at you. You’ve accepted that you no longer turn heads when walking down the street, you’re now probably the last person to be served at the bar (when did that happen? You used to be the first!) your opinion isn’t valued anymore as what could you possibly know at your age? You use the anti ageing creams, still take an interest in clothes and make up, maybe had a little help with botox and fillers but no, you’re still wearing that invisibility cloak that someone threw over you when you weren’t looking. But it’s not just about the visible signs of ageing that we have to contend with.

Getting older also means you’ve probably experienced a few life changing events, and getting divorced is one of them. No one gets married to get divorced and while the writing’s probably been on the wall for a long time before you actually make that life changing decision (9 times out of 10 the woman will want the divorce) it’s a horrible thing to go through, especially with children involved and your confidence will have taken a huge knock. Not many people come through it unscathed but hopefully you’ll have had lots of support.

Getting older also means having to go through menopause.This is a bit like being a teenager with the mood swings and crying for absolutely no reason due to the massive hormonal change that’s happening in your body, and even though you know damn well you’re being ridiculous you just can’t help it. For some women this can be a very traumatic time as this can go on for a few years.

And let’s not even start on health issues.

Which brings me to the very real “empty nest syndrome”. Any women who have had children will always say that they’re looking forward to the day when the kids leave home and at the time they will mean it. No more mess, loud music, picking them up from here there and everywhere, teenage tantrums, a procession of different boyfriends/girlfriends that you’re having trouble remembering their name, until it happens. Usually they’ve gone to Uni, or moved out to live with friends and after a few weeks when it feels like a holiday the reality sets in. They’re not coming back. Wandering aimlessly through the house with time to kill because now you’re not washing/ironing/cooking for them is a lonely time for some women. All these years you’ve been defined as being a mother, even though you’ve probably worked, but because you’ve been so busy with the kids, friendships might have been neglected, or you could have moved to a new place in the past couple of years or have had to look after an ill relative, all these things have contributed to where you are now. Lonely, older, and wondering what the hell life has to offer now.

So while you younger women might pay lip service to us fabulous older women, the truth is we had to coax that young, independent, confident and fearless woman that we used to be, to come out and show herself again in order for us to appreciate and enjoy our life. Picking up pieces that we didn’t actually drop but had slipped through our grasp, finding our way again to where we felt we belonged, and as our confidence grew it enabled us to become the fabulous creature that you see today. I understand what these younger ladies are trying to say and years ago I’m pretty certain I said the same thing, but as much as we all like to think we’re going to stick two fingers up to society when we get older the truth is, by the time you get to middle age, you’re just grateful to still be here.

 

 

Shh

 

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So I’ve Been On First Dates

We all watch it, especially all us single people who put ourselves out there in the minefield of today’s idea of dating. First Dates on Channel 4 is the popular equivalent to the old Cilla Black programme Blind Date because it really is a blind date. None of the daters know anything at all about who they are about to meet, which puts the pressure on straight away. At least you have some idea of what you’re dealing with when you’ve made an initial connection online. The production team though are on a mission to find you a perfect match (or as near as they can get) which means a long in-depth interview about likes/dislikes/values/ all designed to help in finding your date before you meet in the famous restaurant. And then it’s all up to you.

Everyone loves a love story and it’s nice to see when a couple get on and maybe see each other again, but even if that’s not the case for everyone, you’ll always have some sort of connection with your date as you’ve both shared a unique experience (along with however many viewers). I for one loved the whole process, I loved going to London, meeting everyone and of course on the day itself I couldn’t wait to get into the restaurant to meet my date as I was curious to see who they would match me with. Everyone involved with the show is lovely, helpful and there’s always someone you can phone for whatever reason. The food is good and of course the French fox Fred is even more stunning in real life while the rest of the staff can’t do enough for you. What I will say though is this, here are a few tips of what not to do should you ever find yourself on the programme.

1.Ladies. Don’t have a radical new hairstyle the day before. I had half my hair cut off and of course it didn’t play nice on the day.

2.Try and make sure that it’s not one of the hottest days of the year as that, combined with stress and the ridiculously hot lights in the post date interview will make you look like someone’s thrown water onto your face.

3.This is the most important. DO NOT leave your brand new shoes on the bed and realise when you’re getting changed that you’ll have to go with outfit B which may as well be Z.

Having said that,the most important thing is just to enjoy the experience. Everybody is hoping that you’ll have a good time, you’ve done the hard bit you’ve got there. and hopefully you can ignore all the people who’ll have so many negative things to say about how you look/dress/speak .You know the ones, the people who are sat at home, on the sofa watching you, who don’t have the actual guts to do it themselves. I know who I’d rather be…

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The Magic Of Twitter.

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a huge fan of Twitter, I love the fact that you can have brief conversations with total strangers who you will never meet but for whatever reason you’ve become friends with on Twitter. It also has a down side of course and there are many stories of people in the public eye who’ve had to leave due to abuse from trolls but for me it’s been a positive thing (this might well change in the very near future) and something interesting happened to me a few weeks ago.

One day a BBC journalist started following me on Twitter and asked could I follow her back so she could direct message me and after a brief conversation I gave her my phone number and the next day someone from the BBC phoned me asking would I be interested in appearing on the programme Rip Off Britain as they were doing one about how people get ripped off on holidays. What was this to do with me? Well apparently a while ago I’d posted a tweet about how I’d have loved to have gone on holiday but was sick of paying single supplement. A throwaway tweet that I can’t even remember posting had led some poor researcher trawling through hashtags to eventually find little old me. I was gobsmacked.

So, a couple of weeks ago I went to Media City where we proceeded to film a segment for the programme. It did take a while and there was a lot of leaning against the rails looking out into the distance over the water at Salford Quays pretending I was really wishing I was in Benidorm but it was fun and it’s always nice to meet new people. This won’t be shown until January or February I believe and I’m interested to see how much footage will actually be shown but in the meantime, as most of you know, I will be seen dining in a certain restaurant on Channel 4 next week. Let’s see if I’m still such a fan of Twitter after that…

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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.

A few days ago I was asked a question during a conversation, did I see myself as a strong northern woman? Without hesitation I replied that yes, I did. It doesn’t matter where you’re from/live if you’ve gone through life where you’ve had to deal with things that most people will never have to deal with, and then come out the other side still standing, then yes,that makes you a strong person.
All of us are going to have to deal with something unpleasant at some point in our lives. Most of us are going to have that friend who in the end stabs us in the back, the guy/girl you fancy getting off with your mate (who by the way KNEW you liked them) being overlooked for promotion in favour of the newbie who’s only been there 5 minutes and maybe the house you’ve put an offer on falls through at the last minute..Hurtful and annoying yes, but if that’s all you’ll ever have to deal with count yourself lucky.
Most of us at some point will  find a career, a partner to settle down with, buy a house and life takes a massive turn when you decide to have children. Imagine 10/15 years down the line when you’re established with your career, mortgage, married life and you find out your partner’s cheating. Or you or your partner have been made redundant, but just enough money is coming in to make it impossible to claim benefits but eventually the house is going to get repossessed. Maybe you’re dealing with a close relative with a life threatening illness. And just  when you think you’ve weathered all the storms you get to middle age and the money you have set aside for retirement vanishes due to the collapse of the company that’s supposedly looking after it. Unfortunately life throws some people a curve ball and while some people can go through life in a straight line, no bumps or forks in the road, no diversions just a straight line from A to B it’s not the same for everyone.
Some of us won’t be anywhere near this road. We’ll be on the one that has had a bridge that has collapsed just as we get there, the one with roadworks but with no easy pedestrian access, the one with a great big tree that has fallen across it. How we deal with this will determine character. Dealing with it will make us stronger, but more wary, more cynical and less likely to believe everything we are told. It’s not always about making the wrong choices, some things happen that we could never have seen coming in a million years but hopefully we’ll all have family and  friends that we can lean on during difficult times.
Like the saying goes “I wish I knew then what I know now”.
Oh how true that is.

Just A Normal Night In The Club.

We’ve all seen them, the weekend millionaires. The large group of young men sat around the bottle of Grey Goose vodka that they’ve all chipped in a couple of quid to buy. But sometimes they might like to mix it up a bit and instead of frequenting the latest expensive watering hole, they go to a strip club instead hoping to impress some of the girls who actually work there.
These are the main type of customers in the club at weekend, dancing around with their man bags, going on about how much money they have and how they can take you away from all this. It’s a shame they can’t pay you for a dance but they’ve just bought a new car/holiday/apartment and is it really £10?? Along with these wannabees will be the usual stag parties and you can bet that more than one guy about to make a lifelong commitment to his lovely partner, will get a bit giddy and proposition one or two of the girls in the club.
The same can be said for the older businessmen who come in with clients, hoping to impress them by knowing each girl by name and maybe he’s hoping the £100 he’s going to spend on having a champagne booth for an hour can be claimed back on expenses. But in the meantime he’s not actually sure that the money is in the bank he’s about to spend on his card. And let’s not forget all the married men who come in for whatever reason. Some girls know every single thing about a guy’s marriage, good and bad, while others of course come in more than once a week and like to spend their money on a favourite girl. Either way,their wife isn’t going to be too happy when she finds out.
But the ones to watch are the ones who really believe that they’re in with a chance. These are the guys who probably don’t like to hear a refusal and won’t be put off by the fact that you have a partner.They really do think that they can make your life better if only you were with them so it’s a good job that the house rules means he can’t touch you.
This is just a normal night in the club, where the girls work and earn a living and contrary to popular belief they don’t need help, or saving from themselves,or an intervention from God and they are certainly not being taken advantage of. These girls would rather do this job a few nights a week and live a comfortable life thank you than work 6 days a week for minimum wage, but it’s other people’s perception of what they think you are that becomes the problem.
Women react in one of two ways. They’re either ok with it or they think you’re some sort of prostitute as there is still a stigma attached to being a stripper. Some people might actually treat you as some sort of celebrity only to turn against you at some point (what’s that all about?)
Guys are usually really excited about dating a stripper until the novelty wears off after a few weeks and the jealousy creeps in.What’s that age old adage,”The thing that attracts you to someone is the very thing that you end up hating about them.” And that is so true in any relationship.
And now that Barbie’s getting on a bit I can’t see it as her next career move somehow.

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Dodging Bullets .

I thought it was too good to be true, two dates in one week? Having had a good date last weekend (only for him to say “No” to another but I would have seen him again) I was looking forward to meeting a potential victim on Thursday my day off.
I’d spoken to “T” a couple of times and with hindsight he did seem really keen.He had made a reference to one of my pics on a dating site as I’m wearing a dress that shows a little bit of cleavage but I just put it down to a bit of cheeky humour. Having made some arrangement to meet for coffee in the afternoon I nipped into Manchester to meet up with a friend before cutting it short and making my way to the Quays. Just as I got there I received a phone call from T saying he’d taken his bike out for a spin and completely lost track of time.He was about half an hour away from where he lived then he had to get showered/changed and make his way over to meet me.Was I alright waiting for about an hour and a half? The answer was “No,” He seemed quite shocked at this so I suggested maybe we should just meet up another time, no harm done but he wasn’t happy. “I want to see you today.I’m the one travelling over to see you so you could at least make the effort.” Hang on a minute…
“I’m the one already here at the time we arranged, you’re not.I’m certainly not prepared to hang around because you can’t tell the time.So how about meeting up over the weekend?” He was insistent.”No.I really want to meet up today.You’re not busy later are you?” Actually I was busy and I told him, which is when he got quite angry. I had ruined his day off now, I could at least wait for him as he’d gone to the trouble of booking a room in a nearby hotel and if he cancelled it he would lose money.What sort of bitch was I anyway?
The sort of bitch who immediately blocked his number.
But I was shocked and appalled that this guy had assumed I would happily go along to spend an afternoon in a hotel room with a complete stranger, which tells me he’s done this before. I’m sure some women are probably doing the same as this guy but there was no way I gave any indication that I was up for that.We all know the safety rules of online dating and while it’s easy to forget when you get excited about meeting someone new,this was a harsh reminder to always keep them in mind.
Date safely ladies.

When Grown Ups Still Play With Dolls.

Watching a documentary about men buying “real dolls”had me laughing out loud at the so called relationship they seem to think that they have with a lump of silicone. One that they’ve actually paid a lot of money for after stipulating which eye/hair/skin colour they would prefer and finally settling on a name for their new friend. Some guys clearly buy them just for the sex and dress the dolls to look like hookers which gives you a good indication of how that particular man views women, but some men treat the dolls as if they truly are some sort of companion which is also a bit worrying.And as I’m ridiculing them and thinking that no way would a woman do that I had to remind myself that actually they do.
Some women buy “reborn” dolls that look like real babies for a variety of reasons.Some of these women may have lost a child/grandchild/younger sibling so this is a way of replacing them and maybe a way of coping with loss.But I reckon that a lot of these are older ladies who have grown up children who have left home leaving them with a sense of loss..Everybody’s heard of empty nest syndrome and while it can be explained, you’ve no idea how it feels until you experience it yourself.
For most women being a mum will be the best/worst job ever and even though you will always have the title,you are in fact now redundant which can have an odd effect on some ladies.They’re no longer needed,valued and maybe the only thing that defines them has gone. So it’s easy to understand why some women go looking for a replacement, real or otherwise in a bid to recapture all the feelings of having someone dependent on you.
In other words,someone to love.
While men go about it a different way in buying a doll that enables them to have sex,they will say that a doll can’t give them the companionship they want,and as these are usually older men who have these dolls you’d like to think that women of a similar age would run a mile if they found out that their new boyfriend had a couple of plastic girlfriends hidden in the wardrobe.But when it comes down to it,the guys don’t want a real girlfriend.They’re quite happy with a doll that doesn’t have a mind of it’s own, answer back, or leave them.And obviously won’t say no to sex whenever/wherever.
But not every woman wants a silicone baby when the kids have left home. There was a time when I could usually be found at Pets at Home looking at hamsters,,,,

When Do You Decide To Wear Beige?

Travelling back from town on public transport, a gorgeous young girl got on the bus and ended up in a seat facing me. As she looked me up and down she gave me a sort of pitying look as if to say “Why have you let yourself get old?” Granted I wasn’t wearing my Sunday best but looking at myself through her eyes she might have had a point, but this made me smile.
Young people always think that they will never get old.
It will never ever happen to them, they will fight it all the way maybe even thinking that scientists will discover a magic serum that will keep them looking young (it’s called Nivea) because god forbid they end up being invisible, unnoticed,ignored, unworthy,and all the other negative connotations associated with the word “old.” But it’s not as cut and dried as you think. Getting older is an insidious process, it creeps up on you when you’re not looking and doesn’t happen overnight. One day you’re happy to wear outrageous clothes, hair and make up but a couple of years later you might think it best to tone it down a bit if you want people to take you seriously and you just never go back. Instead of shopping in all the quirky shops that sell the things you used to love, you start shopping in different ones and finding a different style but one which still reflects the “real you.”
Things might change again once you’ve had a family and you’re trying to juggle kids, house and work.Easier to just buy things that are easy to wear, comfortable and you can just throw in the wash so the days of buying fabulous items that are dry clean only go out of the window, and let’s face it, where are you going to wear them these days? You tend to spend more on the kids clothes than you do on yours (even though you were never ever going to be that woman) and maybe start spending less on makeup. Obviously you’re still making an effort everyday, especially on the school run as we all know the bitching that goes on at the school gates, but something’s changed. Doing the weekly shop in the supermarket it’s easy to just throw something in the trolley for yourself in the clothing section, not exactly Top Shop but it’ll do.
Once the kids become teenagers you might start to question your choice in what to buy in clothes as you’re entering unknown territory. Too old for a lot of the fashion but still far too young to give up. If you’ve still kept your figure it’s tempting to still try to keep up with the fashionistas but you don’t want to be that woman who people point the finger at as “mutton dressed as lamb.” While you’re open to trying new styles it’s difficult to hang on to your identity as the girl known as the trendsetter back in the day now shops in Debenhams. Instead of Radio 1 it’s now Radio 2. Instead of the latest hairstyle it’s now a shorter one that you wanted to “try out” a few years ago and seemed to have settled with.
Once you’re over 50 you may as well turn to dust, game over. No one is in the slightest bit interested in what you wear, say,look like or have an opinion on. It seems to be one step away from Bon Marche and everything that goes with it. Or so people think. While some people like to say “50 is the new 30!” let me tell you no it’s bloody not. By this time our bodies have slowed down, health issues start, most of us are wearing glasses, we tire a lot easier especially if we’re working a physical job but our minds still like to tease us by making us think we are younger than we are. And this is where it’s easier to buy clothes  that reflect how we feel society sees us, bland, insipid, plain clothes that make us feel safe and easy to just fade into the background. But some women might try to make one last stand, running the risk of being ridiculed by wearing skirts too short, tops too low and wearing clothes that draw attention but for all the wrong reasons. So in a way I can understand why the older men/women in their 60’s/70’s end up buying beige. To stand out is to have confidence and not many older people have that as life has a funny way of knocking it out of you. It would take a very brave older person to stay true to their younger self and wear what they’d love to wear.
But let’s not forget. Youth is wasted on the young.

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The Trouble With Online Dating.

Anyone who is using any dating sites/apps will know what an uphill struggle it is to find someone you even want to meet,never mind the happy ever after and as much as we would all love to meet someone in the “normal” way modern life dictates that this is virtually impossible.
Back in the day everyone worked the same hours Monday to Friday,there were no long hours in the office,shops weren’t open 24 hours,no deadlines to present to someone who lives in China, so everyone was around in bars at the same time which made life so much easier.As much as it is difficult to meet someone when you’re in your 20’s/30’s try fast forwarding another 30 years and you get to walk in my shoes.
Online dating means we can be who ever we want to be and although I’m quite happy being myself thank you very much, a lot of people feel the need to enhance the truth a bit. We’ve all been there.Dates with guys who turn up in old joggers,look nothing like their pics and on top of that are lacking in the personality department but sometimes I think we shoot ourselves in the foot by being too picky.One of my pet hates is guys who can’t spell and use text abbreviations on their profile but if I was to meet them before I knew this and we got on really well then the fact that they can’t spell properly wouldn’t bother me because I wouldn’t know.If you have chemistry with someone the normal things that annoy you about online profiles would go out of the window so that being said I’ve decided to move my goalposts a bit.
When I first started dating I was looking for non smokers but if a guy ticks a lot of other boxes I’m prepared to overlook a couple of things and smoking is one of them.I’m also having to be realistic here, which is not the same as lowering my standards but you have to understand that my options are a lot less than 30 years ago so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and not insist that my dates have hair, so baldies are in with a chance.Another one is widowers.I think I’ve met the ones who are looking for a replacement pretty damn quick so anyone will do,but maybe if he’s been on his own a bit longer I might consider a date.And who knows.maybe the guys who only date petite blondes are also moving their own goalposts to include loud, gobby, opinionated brunettes. They don’t know what they’re letting themselves in for…

Oops Sorry, Wrong Number.

Sometime last week in the early hours of one morning I received a text from an unknown number, but I was pretty sure it was likely to be from either a guy I’ve already dated, or someone I’ve been chatting with online and as I was just drifting off I wasn’t about to get into an exchange at that time, so next morning I replied asking who it was.
He must have been a bit surprised that I’d not kept his number as he was quick to reply with “Oops sorry,wrong number but how are you anyway?” I had a feeling I knew who this was when his next text was a picture.Only one guy sent me pictures,usually of himself in his hot tub and showing off his well kept gardens and this was the guy who let me down on the last Bank Holiday with a migraine.”Yeah thought it was you Tom,Dick or whatever it is you’re calling yourself these days.” This one used two different names and he’s not the only one who does this but he didn’t seem upset by the insult and went on to say that he missed our chats and the laughs we had as apparently everyone is too serious.”You had your chance mate.Not the migraine as that couldn’t be helped but the vague re-arrangements that were made for a couple of days later only for you to text me and say that we could have been out that evening.It either happens or it doesn’t,please don’t send me random texts ever again.In fact,delete my number as I’ve clearly deleted yours.” Oh he didn’t like that and got a bit nasty so in the end I had to block him but I don’t believe for one minute that he sent that text to the wrong number he was clearly hoping for a third chance.As if.
While we’re on the subject of online dating does anyone else message guys first? I just think if he seems to tick a lot of boxes,has a few pics,writes a decent profile then why not? Some guys might want to get in touch with you but might be a bit shy so will be over the moon if you do it first.Or I have had the opposite effect on men where I have messaged them and I am clearly not what they want (idiots) so they don’t message back, but that’s ok because I also do the same to men I’m not interested in.
This week I’m in contact with a man who is a “top ten prospect” and I loved the fact he has taken time and effort over his profile but I have a sneaky suspicion that he’s chatting with a few different women (like everyone does but that’s fine) as he’s not really saying anything about meeting up.Let’s face it,the last time I had a pen pal was in school so I’m not really into emailing for days on end and I’m starting to lose interest, so unless he makes noises about meeting him then I’ll end up just deleting him,harsh but true.
For god’s sake,don’t men recognise a goddess when they see one?

Social Media.Love It Or Hate It.

I love social media,I really do.I don’t know if that makes me nosey (probably) but I like to interact with various people about different things that might be happening in our lives,workplace or the rest of the world but it would seem that different people have different ideas about how they use it.
Facebook for most people would be the most obvious one,the problem starts when people in the workplace start adding each other as let’s face it,we don’t get on with everyone do we? So after adding a couple of people, you will definately get a friend request from someone you don’t like,and sometimes the feeling is mutual but because you have 15 mutual friends they feel that they have to add you even though you have never ever had a conversation,and in fact sometimes walk past each other with barely a “Hi.” So what do you do? Sometimes it’s just easier to add them as it seems a bit churlish not to but at the same time why add someone who has no interest in what’s going on in your life the same as you have absolutely no interest in theirs?
“Fakebook” is the place where everyone feels that they have to post a status about what a fabulous life they’re having,what they have for tea,how fantastic their relationship with their significant other is,and isn’t life great.But it’s also been good for reuniting old friends which has got to be a good thing.
Twitter is a different animal completely and I love it.It’s a place where you don’t know anyone,you can’t post long whinging self indulgent posts as it won’t let you,as 140 characters means it has to be short and sweet so that means twitter is very fast.You soon find a group of people who seem to respond to some of your tweets so yes,twitter does have a lot of cliques and sometimes that creates it’s own problems.If a couple of people follow you (and you them) a list of “people you might like to follow” will show up especially if a few of your followers follow each other.(keep up at the back) This is where it’s a bit like Facebook and so you will get a follow from someone who sees that some of their followers follow you, even though they’ve probably no interest of anything you tweet.For some people it’s a numbers game,they try to get as many followers as possible, with no intention of following back.
But here again on twitter some people don’t interact. I have “liked ” something  that someone I follow (and who follows me) has tweeted, I have commented on blogs I like, have replied to certain tweets,all with no reply. Thank god for the mute option and you can always unfollow.
Having said that I have had some great random  conversations with total strangers on twitter,and even though we haven’t met there are some lovely people I regularly interact with.(you know who you are).And I have to say that it just seems a bit more real on twitter as people don’t always tweet about how great their life is. So here’s a message to all the people who just read every post and never ever interact either on Facebook or twitter.It’s called social media,the clue is in the word “social”, which surely means interaction.Try it,you might like it.

From Disney To The Dark Side.

As yet another body is pulled out from the Manchester canal (second one in two weeks actually) speculation grows that there could well be a killer at large who’s been given the name “The Pusher.” Police say that there is no connection which obviously is ridiculous and if that was over 60 women instead of men that had been pulled out of the canal in the past 6 years a man hunt would have been under way ages ago.To suggest that they have all either fallen in drunk or killed themselves is insulting to say the least,no doubt maybe a couple of them have but certainly not that amount.
Professor Craig Jackson,Head of Psychology at Birmingham University maintains that it’s highly improbable that such a high number of young men have committed suicide as it’s not usually a method that men would choose unless jumping off a bridge.Which begs the question,what is going on?
Most of the men found are gay,young,and probably been on a night out in surrounding areas with the Gay Village being a popular destination. But a lot of straight people go there too as it’s such a good night out, and as yet no young women teetering drunk in high heels seems to have managed to fall in the water.
Anyone watching “Cucumber” will remember that horrific scene where one of the main characters gets smacked with a golf club in the side of the head after having sex with another man who was still in the closet.This sort of thing happens regularly,(not the golf club obviously) where men who maintain they are not gay, are married to women and have children, seek out sex with other men as in the long run they can’t deny who they are.Only recently two men in prison for homophobic crimes got married to each other,both had murdered gay men, probably after having sex with them and everyone knows the story of the guy who insisted he could cure gay men with aversion therapy (as God doesn’t recognise gays apparently.) only to go on to marry a man himself. Which brings me to my theory.
It’s possible that it’s a gay man who, for whatever reason, has not come out to the world,who might even have had sex with some of them and as Craig Jackson says, a body in the canal will have all DNA evidence destroyed.For whatever reason there is something sinister going on, and hopefully if it is someone who’s getting their kicks by killing young men let’s hope he gets caught soon. But if the police are saying there’s no connection with all these bodies being found,I might have to get my Miss Marple cardi on….

Manchester-canal

Who Said Dating Was Fun?

I should have had a date last Saturday night.I should have been having fun/banter, lots of wine and hopefully having a very pleasant evening but instead I ended up watching Eurovision and wondering if Conchita Wurst has been doing some waist training as her waist was so tiny.

I suspected on Friday that maybe this date wasn’t going to happen, but I tried to push all negative thoughts away and focus on the positive and try to decide on what I was going to wear.Saturday came and I got a short text around lunch time saying “In Tesco’s,I’ll txt you later.” Around 4 o’clock I got the text,he was extremely sorry but he was probably going to have to cancel due to having a migraine.Hmm…I can imagine him having a migraine after  having met me, but I was a bit surprised to say the least but obviously couldn’t exactly call him a liar.He seemed keen to rearrange the date though so I gave him a chance and we arranged it for Monday night.
Monday came and although we’d exchanged a few texts nothing was mentioned about meeting in the evening until I got a text around 9 o’clock.”We could have been out tonight.” I was quick to reply.”But we’re not.” He said he’d made a subtle hint in earlier texts that day but I know damn well he hadn’t so I had to reply with “Clearly I’m having a blonde senior moment day and thick as two short planks because I completely missed the extremely subtle hint you say you made.” And no, I didn’t get a reply.
The last date I had was a few weeks ago and that was a bit of a disaster.After finding out he works at the hospital I asked my flatmate to make some enquiries and apparently it turns out that my prospective date wasn’t well liked but as I didn’t work with him I thought I’d meet him anyway.It was a lovely hot sunny day and as I had arrived at the meeting place first I sat outside,but didn’t have to wait long before his car pulled up.
“S” was a very chatty guy.He never shut up from the time he got out of the car until he got back in it to drive off and I have to say my ears were bleeding.I now know all about his two colleagues that he works with and where they’re going on holiday and S is upset that they have booked the weeks off that he wanted even though he’s probably not going anywhere.I know where they live,who they’re married to,which pub they use and what they have for breakfast.I know all about S’s ex wife and her new boyfriend,where they like to go,and (of course) she really wants him back.I know that he’s now left the hospital to start a new job as he couldn’t make the changes to the rota that he wanted to make.
I was starting to understand why not many people seemed to like him.
I’m sure he must have asked me a question,but if he did it would probably be something he can turn right around back onto him. But while he was droning on and clearly not interested in anything I might want to say I had to fight the impulse to suddenly say to him,
“And then the house burned down.”
Let’s just say that sometimes,dating is just sheer hard work trying to sort the wheat from the chaff….

Blurred Lines

Anybody working in retail has probably noticed that there’s a thin line between customer service and being a personal shopper but lately it seems that the line (where customers are concerned) is becoming a bit blurred.
At one time customers were quite happy to go into a shop/store/supermarket and be left alone until they actually wanted some help and then they would ask for some assistance. Not any more. It’s bad enough that some customers think that people who work in retail are as thick as two short planks (especially in supermarkets) and feel that they have to repeat themselves when asking a question or speak slowly so that you understand them usually missing out the “please” or “thank you.” But now some of them seem to just walk in to the store, head for whichever department they want and instead of actually looking for the item they want, they ask a member of staff to find it for them, but while a member of staff is being distracted helping someone who won’t help themselves this means that other customers who genuinely need some help are having to wait.
A supermarket is self service, staff are there to genuinely try to help if an item is not on display, or the price on the shelf is confusing or any number of other things. What they are not there for is phoning up and asking them to basically do their shopping for them and then keep it until a convenient time when they can come and pick it up. That is when the line is crossed and you become a personal shopper. I’m betting that a tin of beans/butter/coffee and milk are probably still going to be on the shelves when you finally manage to get to the supermarket at whatever time.
And just so you know, some of the young people who work in supermarkets have a degree but obviously not everyone can get a job after they’ve graduated, and the little part-time job they had to keep them going through Uni has now evolved into a main source of income. I have worked with some really interesting/talented people who have somehow found themselves working in retail when they clearly should be doing something else, but it’s tough out there.
TV programmes such as “Trollied” don’t really help either because they seem to buy into that idea of a certain type of person working in a supermarket, so it’s not surprising that people have that perception.But here’s a thought.
How about treating people how you’d like to be treated?
Happy shopping.

Dating Experts and the Industry.

Apparently it’s not enough these days to just put a profile and a couple of photos on dating sites like everyone else,you need the help of a dating expert, dating coach,matchmaker, and various other people. There are also people out there who will take the photos for you and people who will help you to write that “killer” profile. All for a price of course.
I somehow managed to write one all by myself and it must have been good as someone nicked it. A guy got in touch after reading it and asked would I mind if he used it himself? I replied that yes I would mind as it had taken me ages to think of a good profile and maybe he should try that himself? A couple of days later he messaged to say “Look at my profile,what do you think?” and he’d taken mine. Tweaked it a bit so it was about him but was definitely mine.I was furious so I reported him to the site but they weren’t interested. So after that I was a bit loathe to go all out and think up another really good one so I’ve played it safe ever since, maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.
There are loads of dating experts around but I can’t see how someone who won’t be in my position for at least another 20 years, can possibly help me and others my age group when they do not have a clue as to what it’s like. Older dating is harder, and that’s a fact. Someone a lot younger will not realise that even in this day and age older men are homophobic, it’s a generation thing. And the ones who think that they’re funny are still telling you old jokes they’ve remembered from lolly sticks.
Bloggers who write about dating will sometimes be asked by an “expert” to write a guest post for a  blog or newsletter. All of a sudden someone will get in touch with “I love your blog!” and then ask if you’d write a (free) piece for them. I’ve been asked myself a couple of times and twitter seems to be full of them,
.Watching an episode of  First Dates a couple of weeks ago I was involved in a conversation with someone on twitter who was on an episode of this series.”I should have been on it but they couldn’t find anyone for me and I’m not surprised as I can’t find him either”.I said. Next thing a “dating lifestyle coach” tweeted me.”Maybe I can help you there”.”Really? Not sure if you realise the challenges of older dating but if you can find me a normal man with hair and a sense of  humour, who’s not looking for someone younger,who’s not looking for someone “to do stuff with” who’s not homophobic,or a bigot then yes you can help.” I didn’t get a reply and I would have been surprised if I had.
I’m not knocking all the dating industry as I would actually use a match making service but that will be a last resort,  it’s just that on the whole, it seems that there’s a lot of money to be made from some people who might be at a vulnerable time of their lives. Having said that please let me be the first one to take it to the next level and actually charge people to go on a date instead of them. Let’s see how long it is before that happens…

Sun,sea and walking sticks.

Waiting in the departure lounge before heading off on holiday I started to get a bit worried, as everyone seemed to be so old. I should have realised with the time of year that it was going to be popular with older people but still,I felt like I was on the set of “Cocoon”.It wasn`t all bad,on arrival at the hotel there were a group of younger people that livened things up a bit and provided some of the entertainment.
Having sussed out that the hotel wasn`t as close to the beach as it said it was I spent a lot of  the time at the hotel mainly sunbathing on the rooftop terrace.It was obvious I was there alone and some people made me feel very welcome to join them, which I usually did in the evenings.The place was full of couples,not many families and certainly no other single people but that didn`t bother me as I wasn`t on the lookout for a holiday romance even though a couple of people I knew seemed to think just because I was going on my own I was “going to have a really good time,wink wink”.
We weren`t short on entertainment though.One evening there was a heated exchange between a 60 year old lesbian couple which involved an accusation of one of them sitting too close to someone else while watching the parrot show.There were tears,a drink being flung at an innocent woman minding her own business, before the two of them left to sort it out.
Then there was the music quiz.One (rather large) woman was in it to win it.The idea was to run to an empty chair on the stage if you knew the answer.One man got there seconds before this lady did and as he sat down she literally pulled him out of the chair and flung him off the stage.Luckily he was unhurt but her next victim wasn`t so lucky.Running up to the stage (again) she pushed into a woman who was making her way back to her seat from the bar and the poor woman (and drinks) went flying.The entertainment rep decided to call it a night before there was a serious accident.What was the prize? The winning team, which was five of them,won one cocktail between them.I know…not even one each.Did I say there were there no other single people?
I tell a lie.There was one other person.
A woman was sat outside the restaurant one morning when I went down to breakfast and beckoned me over.I`d seen her around but not actually spoken to her but she spoke to me like we were old friends.She started to show me some pictures on her phone.”Look at these.This was me on Christmas day.Beaten black and blue by my ex.” Well what do you say to that? “He lives on this island and he was in court yesterday and I think he may have been sent to prison as I can`t get hold of him.” I was trying to be sympathetic when I said.”Well to be honest if he did that to you he probably deserves it.” She started laughing.”Well what the judge doesn`t know is that I had smashed a bottle of brandy over his head! I’ve been given the number of prisoners abroad what should I do?” I really didn’t want to get involved with this.”Maybe you should ring the number,I’d love to hear the outcome but I need to get some breakfast.” I made sure I avoided her the rest of the time I was there.
When I got back home a couple of people asked who I`d been away with,and when I said “Just by myself” one or two said “Oh I would do that.Just spend a week away on my own”. And this is usually the people who have never done it,never will and who can`t cross the road without the help of a lollipop lady…

Same Old Brand New You.

So here we are two months into 2015 and after a flurry of the usual “This year I’m hoping to find the one” on various dating sites, let’s take a look shall we?
A few of you men have still yet to learn how to spell properly, and definitely stop using text abbreviations. These aren’t young kids I’m talking about, these are grown men over 50 years old. Then we have the usual “Like staying in/going out. Not ready for pipe and slippers yet” but yet you’ve listed visiting a garden centre as an interest. Not to mention pottering around in your shed.
I realise it’s harder to date when you’re older but surely by now some of these guys might have guessed that in order to get a woman’s attention they should appear to be just a little bit interesting. Not much to ask is it? A guy’s profile (and this is more than one) that says “Ask me anything” and says nothing else, makes me think that they’re actually quite lazy so no,I certainly won’t be getting in touch.
But the opposite to these guys are the ones who go running/hang-gliding/mountain climbing and fighting dragons which tells me that they don’t really have time for a relationship even though they seem a lot more interesting. So I suppose a lot of women would be looking for guys who fall in-between these two camps.
This is where the fun starts.
I have turned up for dates where the guys are a lot, shall we say bigger, than the one photo that’s on their profile, guys who smoke when their profile said they didn’t, guys in “complicated” relationships. I’ve dated widowers who certainly weren’t over the loss of their wives. Guys who were confused about their sexuality, there have been homophobes, misogynists,and someone who did actually bring a voucher along for a cut price meal. Some men are just looking for a companion to do things with, but that’s certainly not enough for me. I’ve dated men who’ve complained about absolutely everything from the start of the date right through to the end, this could be the weather/parking/price of coffee/ and usually about other dates they’ve been on.
I’ve actually had dates with some lovely men but they were just not for me.
But I’ll keep looking. Someone somewhere has my name on a pillow next to his but in the meantime I’m off on holiday for a week to Feurteventura with me myself and I so you never know what might happen.

I’ve Got a New Fan Club.

Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it on here (don’t think I have) but in the past few months I’ve been writing for Metro news, lifestyle blogs, usually about dating.You know the type, “10 things you only know if…” tongue in cheek stuff but I have to say there is probably a grain (if not more) of truth in everything I write.This has never been a problem until a couple of weeks ago when a particular post seemed to be a lot more popular than anything I’d had published in Metro previously.
This resulted in my first troll.This guy had tracked me down on Facebook and left a bit of a scathing message about my thinking that all men over 50 have particular traits. He was different (he said) and how dare I generalise and assume all men are the same.Taking a closer look at him I looked on his Facebook page and noticed that even though he was balding at the front he had really long hair at the back of his head. And wearing a vest. Trying too hard to be the oldest swinger in town,the prosecution rests it’s case m’lud.
If I was going to get trolled I initially thought it would have been on Twitter until I remembered that most of the guys I know over 50 aren’t on Twitter. Having given a picture of myself and short bio to Metro he’d actually taken the time and effort to find me to tell me what he thought. After the initial shock I blocked him and that was that. Or so I thought.
Clicking on to the link to that particular post this morning to send it to someone, I noticed that there had been a few comments left on it. Over 80 in fact and nearly all of them were haters. Reading through them there was obviously a theme, quite a few people seemed to think that I’ve recently been dumped by someone and that I’m a feminist (like that’s an insult) a woman who should get out more, and a couple of them actually said that I would never find someone while I was living with a gay man. Most of these were obviously sent by older men but believe it or not a few were sent by women. Did I respond to any? God no, you don’t give them oxygen but for a few minutes there I was actually a bit upset before I got annoyed at the fact that all these people who don’t know me, never met me, had made all these assumptions about me.
Well they’d better get used to it,as hopefully I’ll be writing more posts for Metro and other publications and a few people with sad little lives, too much time on their hands, can make as many comments as they like.What’s that saying?
If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

When Your Spider Senses Are Tingling…

Had a date last Sunday. It’s been a while so I was looking forward to it even though I’d been asked a couple of personal questions in an earlier conversation which had put me off. But after having to remind myself that people are entitled to a difference of opinion I decided to go ahead and meet “J”.
Initially it was for coffee but after a few conversations on the phone we decided to meet for drinks late Sunday afternoon.
As usual I had to take charge on where to go as none of these guys seem to go out anywhere past the end of their street so I chose the Northern Quarter and went to a bar I’d been in before with a different date. As we sat down J told me that he’d already googled me (I’d foolishly given him my second name when he’d asked) which knocked me back a bit.”Why on earth would you do that?” He looked a bit smug.”I always google my dates”. This wasn’t a good start but it was going to get worse. After half an hour of listening to his life story he then asked me to share some of mine but as  I started to speak he leaned closer,”How are you feeling?” I must have looked confused.”Are you relaxed? How do you think the date is going?” This was an effective way of shutting me up so I leaned back and let him waffle on. I now know every holiday he’s ever been on,what he was wearing and what he has for breakfast but every few minutes I was getting asked the same question.”How are you feeling?”
After a couple of drinks I decided I’d had enough and he looked disappointed when I refused the offer of another drink. He must have been feeling brave by then as the conversation turned to the two questions he’d asked me the week before.
This  guy has a very definite idea of what women should be/do and he’d asked me if I had any tattoos. The answer was “No I haven’t, but if I had they wouldn’t be visible.Would that be a problem?” The answer was yes it would be a problem as it was a bit of a deal breaker for him. Fair enough. The second question was had I had any work done? Again the answer was no, and this was also a bit of a deal breaker as it was something he hated and could spot a mile off. Cosmetic surgery is a personal thing and I have a couple of friends who have had a couple of minor procedures and they look great but no, he wasn’t having any of it. He then commented on my hair by saying it was clearly not my own natural colour and how was the diet going? I had nothing to lose by this point so I asked him a couple of questions of my own.”Tell me,did your ex wife work at all?” He looked surprised.”We had children so no, she didn’t.” “And is she a petite lady?” “Well yes she is actually.” I knew it.
Leaving the bar we made our way back to the tram stop which meant going through the back streets to Market Street and as soon as we got out of the bar he grabbed my hand in his which I shook off. Walking down the back streets he tried to push me up against the wall/shop window to try to kiss me. I firmly pushed him away and after the third time he shook his head.”A bit shy are we?”
I couldn’t get to that tram stop quick enough.
Two days later he contacted me and I made up some plausible story as to why I needed his second name, I then found him on Facebook and blocked him before he could find me.
And no, I definitely won’t be seeing him again.

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A Good Friend These Days Is Hard To Find.

We all need friends and it’s easier to make them when you’re younger, than it is when you’re older.At school is easy,although as a teenager many people find that they switch to other groups and possibly leave a couple of friends behind.Having moved around a lot in my late teens/early twenties I found it really easy to make friends.If I moved to a new town I usually got a job in a bar a couple of nights a week so I soon had a new set of friends,and when it was time to move on I probably only kept in touch with one or two.
Then there’s workplace friends,who to be honest,you don’t really see outside of work but are happy enough to see them on a (near) daily basis.These are the people who make the workplace a lot more bearable with banter/bitching/ and who are there for us when we’re having a bad day at the office.But like I said,once you’re older it’s a lot harder to find friends,especially in a big city.
Having moved to a city just outside Manchester just over 3 years ago I thought it would be a lot easier to find friends than it has been.As a woman in her mid fifties this has proved to be a lot harder than any other time.I’ve joined the Meet -Up groups but although I’ve tried to go along to a few I’ve found that work gets in the way as my job is not a nine-to-five and I work a couple of later shifts which narrows the options a bit.The ones I have gone to though, I’ve found that it was either too many young people or the opposite,too many older retired people who enjoyed coach trips to shopping outlets.Friendly enough,just not for me.
Another thing is if you have no young children then you don’t get involved in the community.There’s no hanging around at the school gates chatting to the other mums,no school fetes,PTA meetings,kids parties,having various children over for sleepovers and all the rest of it.You’re on your own.Luckily I do see a couple of long term friends on a regular basis but it’s been tricky to make new ones. But it’s not been all bad.Being on twitter and applying for a Channel 4 dating show last year made it possible to meet a new friend who I always enjoy spending time with as she lives in Manchester.
So.I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go along to see what the local W.I.has to offer.
Wish me luck.

Always be the star,never the understudy.

Today I should have been going on two dates. Yep that’s right, two different dates in the same day.
Date number one was to have been for coffee/drink at around 12-30, then the other was to be around 2-30 for yet another coffee. Unfortunately neither happened due to circumstances beyond my control and they both ended up cancelling.
I’d been having a bit of banter with “D” and he was eager to meet (which isn’t a bad idea as there’s no point emailing/texting for ages then finding that you don’t fancy each other when you meet) so he was the first guy I was meeting. Final arrangements for this date were made only a few days ago, so I was a bit taken aback when D text me to say he’d met someone and was giving it a go so had to cancel.When he met this lady I have no idea but he was probably chatting to quite a few of us so I’ve probably had a lucky escape.
Date number two was “E” who seemed really keen but could never finalise an actual time to meet until this Sunday but that was about to change. I received a txt from him saying that he’d forgotten that he’d arranged to see his grown up daughters today but as there was a chance that they might cancel on him we might be able to have that coffee. I wasn’t holding my breath on that one. I told him to go and have a good time and we’ll make a date for another time but I’ve a feeling he is also about to tell me he’s met someone.
Months ago I was chatting with someone when he said he was about to ask me out but had just been on a date and as it went well he was taking himself off the dating sites. One date and he was hoping it was going to work out, no pressure there then.  A couple of  months later he got back in touch and said as it hadn’t worked out he would like to maybe meet up but I politely declined. He got a bit angry and said a few nasty things but I stuck to my guns.
I don’t want to be that woman who is kept on the back burner in case it doesn’t work out for various people. I want to be a guy’s first choice.
I want to always be the star, never the understudy.

 

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Ageism is alive and well in popular bars.

Today was my last day off from work before Christmas.Working in retail means that it’s our busiest time so as my next day off is actually Christmas day I planned to enjoy it.
After meeting a friend and having a catch up for an hour I wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon doing a bit of last minute shopping before finally finding a nice bar and having a mulled wine (or two.) But there was a problem.I could either
(a) Try a bar I’ve not been in and risk getting ignored,
(b)Go back to a bar where I’ve had good service.
I chose (b). Purely because I was getting tired and wasn’t in the mood for what could have happened.It’s been a while since I ventured into a bar on my own, it’s something I usually do on a hot summer day,late afternoon and only for about an hour.Living in Manchester means I have lots to choose from and I can be as pretentious as anyone else, so  I do like to go to one of the so called “uber trendy”bars.This hasn’t always been a good idea.
This Summer I went on a speed dating event which was held at a well known restaurant.As I was dressed to impress I made my way to the bar and got there more or less the same time as a man.After he was served (with one drink so it was clear that we weren’t together) the young barman walked away.So I stood there.Two other bar staff were having a conversation between themselves right in front of me.There was no-one else waiting to be served,just a well dressed middle aged lady but I may as well have been invisible.Surely that can’t be it? But a couple of weeks earlier I’d been in another popular watering hole in Spinningfields and after having to tell the barman 3 times what I was drinking (because he was in the middle of a conversation with other customers) he never looked at me all the time he was serving and while he handed me my change he was actually talking to someone else.
So I asked a couple of friends if this has happened to them.They all agreed that it had.One friend had gone in (with another girlfriend) to a restaurant with the idea of booking it for a family party.As they were waiting for a while to get served they noticed that all the young gorgeous girls were getting served first and they were being made to wait.In the end they just turned around and walked out.Don’t get me wrong,I’ve also been in places where the service has been great and those are the places I’ve gone back to and highly recommended to other people.
But they’re doing it all wrong.As older people we’ve got more cash to splash.The kids have left home so we like to spoil ourselves and maybe eat out a couple of times a week.A few of us are still working but the house is paid off.We appreciate nice things and nice places and expect the same level of service as everyone else when we do turn up at the latest “in place”.And let’s not forget,we are all the parents of those gorgeous girls and boys that you encourage to come into your bars.
But worst of all,apart from the shockingly bad service when you do eventually get round to it is the fact that you don’t charge us any less for it.It’s time to up your game guys…..

Ray Teret? I went to his flat once…

So as Ray Teret gets 25 years for unlawful sex with underage girls, it reminds me of the time I went to his flat in 1974.Don’t get me wrong,nothing happened to me,I’d gone with a friend “S” who was sort of seeing him at the time.S was a stunning brunette but was quite petite so maybe (looking back) Ray thought she was younger than she was.I’ve no idea what happened (if anything) and to be fair she was over 16,maybe he went off her when he realised how old she was.All I remember was that it took ages on a couple of buses to get to where he lived but we were both a bit star struck as he was working for Piccadilly Radio at the time in Manchester.
And it’s been quite a year for Operation Yewtree.All these women coming forward saying they were raped/groped/indecently assaulted by various high profile men in the 70’s/80’s.As a young woman growing up in the 70’s let me tell you what it was like.
You have to remember that it hadn’t been that long before the 70’s when women had big families and didn’t work.Thanks to the arrival of the pill in the 60’s that changed everything and women could take control as to when they wanted a family.So women wanted to work.Back then no-one stayed on at school to do further education,and no-one, at all, went to University.The best that you were going to do was,as a woman, either
(a) Work in a shop.
(b) Work in a factory.
(c) Take shorthand lessons and work in an office.
No expectations to do any better and usually after a couple of years you’d probably end up with one of the local guys who also had dead end jobs.Get a council house on the same street as your mum/dad sisters/brothers and that was you.Sorted.So women were usually seen as second class citizens in a way which does not condone the behaviour of certain men by any means but that was generally the mentality.We all knew of a couple of girls who did babysitting jobs and the husband made a point of sitting her on his knee and making inappropriate remarks,but no-one thought that it was wrong.Or working in an office/shop and the manager taking you out for a drink after work and then trying it on when he dropped you off.Believe it or not,this was normal.It’s only years later when you realise that no,it was unacceptable.But here we are at last.Men being made accountable for taking advantage of the lovely young girls back then. As for Ray I was lucky,the other predator could have been there,good old Jimmy but I have no story to tell on that score…..